PRINCETON, NJ – Thanks to balanced offense, strong defense, and “outstanding” goaltending, the Iona College men’s water polo team notched a 13-5 win over Washington & Jefferson College in the first of two matches today at the CWPA North-South Crossover Tournament hosted by Princeton University at DeNunzio Pool.
Senior Jake Lloyd led the Gaels with three goals, while senior James Ramaley, senior Ian Thompson, senior Kyle Elmore and sophomore Chris Ellis scored two each. Senior Nicholas Joslyn and junior Zach Presto had one goal apiece. Senior goalie Mike Pufunt recorded 15 saves. On defense, Thompson drew three Presidents kickouts, while Ellis made three steals, and Presto, Thompson and Joslyn had two thefts each.
Iona got on the board first on Ramaley’s lob with only 55 seconds gone. Thompson’s goal three minutes later gave Iona a 2-0 edge, but Washington & Jefferson’s first score trimmed the Gael lead to one with 2:12 left in the first quarter. But Elmore scored 21 ticks later as Iona led 3-1 going into the second.
Lloyd opened the second with his first goal to give Iona a 4-1 advantage, but two straight Washington-Jefferson scores pulled the Presidents with one 4-3 with 6:50. Pufunt’s block of a five-meter penalty shot prevented a tie at the 4:37 mark, then four Iona unanswered scores from Joslyn, Lloyd and two from Ellis put the Gaels up 8-3 at intermission.
In the third period, neither squad scored until Ramaley’s second goal with 2:39 left increased the Gael edge to 9-3. Two straight Presidents goals narrowed the Iona lead to 9-5 with 43 seconds remaining, but Lloyd’s goal upped the Gael advantage to 10-5 going into the final period.
With 1:20 gone in the fourth, Thompson hit his third goal, followed by Elmore’s third and Presto’s first give Iona its largest lead of the match 13-5 with 2:13 remaining.
Iona head coach Brian Kelly praised his squad’s play on both sides of the ball, especially Pufunt’s performance in goal.
“We played excellent defense and got outstanding goaltending from Mike Pufunt,”Kelly said. “Mike made several key saves stopping two one-on-nobodies and a five-meter.
“Our offense was solid, and we missed some opportunities, but you can make up for that with great defense and goaltending.”
The Gaels face host Princeton in their second match of this one-day road trip at 2:30 pm.