NEW ROCHELLE, NY -- With the offense managing only two goals, the fifth-place Iona men’s water polo team fell 13-2 to fourth-place St. Francis College (Brooklyn) in tonight’s opening match of the North East Water Polo Conference Championships hosted by Princeton University.
Junior Zach Roper and freshman Lloyd Quinn scored one goal each for the fifth-place Gaels (9-21). Sophomores Bailey Lyons and Jason Hill had one assist apiece. The offense made 16 turnovers.
In goal for the first three quarters, freshman Jorge Andres Torres made four steals and six saves, including a five-meter penalty shot, while freshman Michael Banks made two saves in the final quarter.
On defense, the Gaels made five steals, and drew ten Terrier (12-13) kickouts, while being ejected eight times. The Gaels did not score on ten man-up advantages, while St. Francis made one of six.
St. Francis jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the opening 2:48 of the match. Taking advantage of their first man-up opportunity, the Terriers increased their edge to 3-0 with 3:14 left in the first period. In the closing 36 seconds, St. Francis hit two more unanswered goals for a 5-0 advantage on Gael turnovers going into the second period. Iona managed only five shots on goal compared to nine for St. Francis in the first quarter.
After the Gaels failed to score on their first two possessions, the Terriers hit four more goals on consecutive possessions to go up 8-0 with 3:42 left to halftime. On Iona’s next 6-5 advantage, Guerra’s shot hit the crossbar, and St. Francis countered for a 10-0 lead at the 2:28 mark. Roper finally got the Gaels on the board with 2:29 to halftime. Torres blocked a Terriers five-meter penalty shot with 20 ticks left, as St. Francis led 10-1 at intermission. In the first half, the Gaels had ten shots on goal and nine turnovers.
Just eight seconds into the third period, the Terriers scored on a five-meter penalty shot. Neither squad scored in the third period until St. Francis upped its lead to 12-1 on a breakaway. Lloyd needed only 53 seconds into the final quarter to hit the Gaels second goal. Senior co-captain Hudson Grieve was disqualified on a misconduct call with 3:35 left in regulation. Ten seconds later, the Terriers scored on the resulting man-up advantage to seal their 13-2 win.
Despite Iona’s intense preparation after an emotional 12-11 sudden-death overtime home loss to St. Francis on Nov. 2, Iona head coach Brian Kelly was disappointed in his squad failing to “execute the game plan.”
“We didn’t execute the game plan in the first quarter, and it killed us,” Kelly said. “When your emotions and your energy levels are at their highest, you have to remember what the game plan is. On top of that, we played poorly and they played well.”
Iona faces the Massachusetts Institute of Technology at 6:30 p.m. Saturday in the match for fifth place.