NEW ROCHELLE, NY — Despite an opening quarter lead during an overall strong first half, the Iona men’s water polo team dropped a 17-10 decision tonight to host St. Francis College in a Collegiate Water Polo Association North match.
Sophomore Zach Roper led the Gaels with four goals, while junior Chris Ellis scored two. Sophomores Patrick Judge, Jonathan Hulbert, Marc Stauble and freshman Andres Guerra each added one goal each. Senior goalie Matt McCrudden made nine saves and three steals.
On defense, the Maroon & Gold had two blocks, and seven steals, three by Ellis and two by Stauble. The Gaels were ejected eight times, and forced 11 St. Francis kick outs, including one Terrier disqualification.
Roper’s two goals in the opening 2:35 gave the Gaels the early edge, but soon after the Terriers answered with one of their own to cut the first quester deficit back down to one. Stauble put Iona back up by two 3-1 with 1:34 to go, however St. Francis netted two straight scores to tie the match at three going into the second period.
After four unanswered Terrier goals, Guerra and Ellis pulled Iona with three 7-4 with 1:41 left in the second quarter. St. Francis scored twice the closing minute for a 9-5 halftime advantage.
The hosts added three quick goals in the opening 2:43 of the third quarter to extend their lead to 12-5. With 3:15 to go, the Gaels mounted a three-goal rally on two Roper scores and a five-meter penalty shot by Ellis to get back within four 12-8 at the 2:30 mark. After St. Francis added two more goals to their total to quell the Iona charge, and Hulbert found the back of the net, as the hosts led 14-9 at the third-quarter buzzer.
In the fourth period, St. Francis outscored Iona 3-1 as Judge scored for the Gaels with 1:11 left in the match.
This weekend the Gaels embark on a two-day New England road trip as they take on Connecticut College and Brown University at New London, CT, on Saturday afternoon, and MIT and Harvard at Cambridge, MA, on Sunday.