NEW ROCHELLE, NY -- The Iona men’s water polo team celebrated its final game of the 2016 campaign with a 9-8 sudden-death overtime win over Massachusetts Institute of Technology Saturday night’s fifth-place match of the North East Water Polo Conference Championship hosted by Princeton University.
Junior Marc Stauble led the Gaels (10-20) with four goals, while junior Zach Roper and freshman Quinn Lloyd scored twice, and junior Patrick Judge had one goal. There were four Gaels assists on nine goals.
Playing the entire match in goal, freshman Jorge Andres Torres made 14 saves and five steals. On defense, the Gaels made ten saves, four by Stauble, who also had Iona’s only shot block. The Gaels drew ten Engineers kickouts, while being ejected 11 times. Iona scored on three of eight man-up opportunities, while MIT made one of eight.
With 2:55 gone in the match, MIT (10-15) struck first on a five-meter penalty shot on freshman Cullen Seipp’s exclusion for a 1-0 lead. Lloyd needed only 54 seconds to tie the game at one on the Gaels next possession. Torres stopped another MIT five-meter penalty shot on sophomore Andres Guerra’s exclusion with 1:57 left as the first period ended in a one-all tie.
Stauble gave Iona its first lead 2-1 on the Gaels second 6-5 opportunity with 3:20 gone in the second period. With neither team scoring for the rest of the period, Iona carried its 2-1 edge into intermission.
Judge’s goal 1:24 into the third period gave Iona a two-point cushion 3-1. The Engineers trimmed the Iona lead to 3-2 on a 6-5 advantage. On their next possession, the Gaels did the same with Lloyd’s second score for a 4-2 edge with 4:22 left in the third. Three unanswered MIT goals tied the score at four, then gave the Engineers a 5-4 lead at the 1:42 mark. Twenty-two ticks later, Stauble tied the match at five, but MIT answered on its next possession to regain the lead 6-5. Stauble hit his third goal on a five-meter penalty shot with 37 seconds left, then the Engineers regained the advantage 7-6 with three ticks on the clock.
Roper tied the game for the fifth time 7-7 only six seconds into the fourth period. With Stauble’s fourth goal at the 2:10 mark, the Gaels regained the lead 8-7, until MIT retied the match at eight 37 seconds later. After regaining possession twice in the last minute and calling two timeouts, the Gaels failed to score, which resulted in overtime.
With neither team scoring in both overtimes, the 8-8 tie carried into the third, sudden-death overtime. In the final minute of the second overtime, the Gaels did not capitalize on two chances to win. After Torres game-saving save with 1:51 left in sudden-death, Roper fired from five meters with 48 seconds remaining for the 9-8 win.
Pleased with ending the season with a sudden-death against a rival team, Iona head coach Brian Kelly particularly praised seven Gaels “who played ironman water polo.”
“It was a great to end the season with a big win against one of our big rivals,” Kelly said. “MIT is well coached, they never quit, and this had the feeling of being one of those sudden-games from the onset.
“I’m really proud of our guys, especially the seven who played ironman water polo without substitution for the final twelve-plus minutes of the game.”