NEW ROCHELLE, NY — After dropping today’s first home match to Harvard University 16-10, the Iona men’s water polo team recorded its first Northeast Water Polo Conference win of the season with 13-8 victory over the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
Game One – Iona 10 Harvard 16
After being tied 4-4 with the nation’s number-eight ranked squad at the end of the first quarter, then down by only one 8-7 at halftime, the Iona offense stalled in the third quarter resulting in a 16-10 loss to Harvard University this morning at Hynes Center pool.
Senior co-captain Hudson Grieve and junior Zach Roper led the Gaels (6-7, 1-2 NEWPA) with three goals apiece, while senior Matt Rothman, juniors Marc Stauble and Jay Pagano, and sophomore Jason Hill scored one goal each. Stauble also assisted on three Iona goals.
In goal, freshman Jorge Andres Torres made eight saves on 30 Harvard shots and four steals. On defense, the Gaels made five steals, two by freshman Cullen Seipp, and blocked one shot. The Gaels drew three Crimson kickouts, while being ejected 11 times. Iona capitalized on one of two man-up opportunities, while Harvard made four of ten. Iona made 25 turnovers.
In the opening 1:43, Harvard hit two unanswered goals. With three seconds left on the shot clock, Grieve put Iona within one 2-1 with 5:20 left in the first quarter. Over the next three minutes, Harvard scored twice, then Grieve’s second goal, assisted by sophomore Andres Guerra, trimmed the Crimson lead to 4-2 at the 2:05 mark. Stauble’s five-meter penalty shot, drawn by Seipp, and Grieve’s third goal of the opening quarter tied the match at four going into the second quarter. Torres made five saves in the opening period.
Rothman gave the Gaels their only lead of the match 5-4 on Iona’s first possession with 35 seconds gone in the second period. The visitors answered with three straight scores to go back up 7-5 with 3:17 left. Just 25 seconds later, Roper’s first score pulled Iona back within a goal 7-6. Despite two goal-saving steals by Torres, Harvard needed only 21 seconds to go up 8-6. Neither squad scored for the next two minutes, until Roper’s second goal of the quarter with 33 seconds left put Iona back within one 8-7 at intermission.
In the third period, Harvard hit five consecutive goals to lead 13-7, while Iona failed to score a deep-end goal. The Gaels tied the Crimson 3-3 in the final period. Twenty-three seconds into the fourth, Roper’s goal narrowed the Harvard lead to 13-8. The visitors answered with three more goals, until Hill’s goal at the 4:08 mark, and Pagano’s score with 27 ticks left in the match.
GAME TWO — Iona 13 MIT 8
In today’s second match, the Gaels rebounded for their first conference win with a 13-8 over MIT, thanks to a five-goal second-quarter rally after three first-half tie scores.
Junior Marc Stauble led the Gaels with four goals and junior Zach Roper had three. Senior Matt Rothman and freshman Quinn Lloyd scored two goals apiece, while senior Hudson Grieve and freshman Cullen Seipp had one score each.
In goal, freshman Jorge Andres Torres made 18 saves on 36 Engineers shots. On defense, Iona had 11 steals with Stauble, Rothman and Roper making two each, and four block shots with Rothman having two. The Gaels drew three kickouts, and were ejected eight times. Iona capitalized on one of five man-up opportunities, while MIT hit one of two.
In the first 5:30 of the match, MIT jumped out of a two-goal lead 2-0, but the Gaels answered with goals from Stauble and Seipp to tie the game at two with 2:38 left in the opening period. Twelve seconds later, MIT went back up 3-2, then Rothman retied the score at three with 54 seconds on the clock. The Engineers needed only 22 seconds to reclaim the lead 4-3 as the first period ended.
On its first second-quarter possession, MIT upped its lead to 5-3. Over the next six minutes, a five-goal Gael rally – three scores from Roper, and one each from Grieve and Lloyd – tied the game for the third time, then gave Iona an 8-5 edge, until MIT scored with 1:29 to intermission. Eleven ticks later, Stauble’s second goal gave Iona a 9-6 halftime advantage.
In the third quarter, neither squad scored until MIT hit on a 6-5 advantage to trim Iona’s lead to 9-7 with 2:48 left. A minute later, Lloyd answered, followed by Rothman with two seconds left to put the Gaels back up by four 11-7 going into the final period.
With 2:30 gone in the fourth period, Stauble’s third goal increased the home advantage to five 12-7, but MIT responded 20 ticks later. Grieve missed a five-meter penalty shot at the 3:15 mark, but Stauble’s fourth goal iced the win with 45 seconds remaining.
Iona head coach Brian Kelly credited “fan support” and “ball control” as the factors in today’s results.
“It’s always good to play at home since our fan support is as good as any varsity program out there,” Kelly said. “We fought hard against one of the best teams in the country in Harvard. Unfortunately, we turned the ball over too often and it wound up in the back of our net. Our ball control was much better against MIT and it helped us pull out a tough win at home.”
The Gaels wrap up their three-game homestand against Brown The Gaels wrap up their three-game home University on Sunday at 2:30 p.m.