NEW ROCHELLE, NY -- The Iona’s women’s water polo team evened its Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference record to 3-3 in a 13-3 victory of Siena College in the first of three MAAC matches this weekend at Clark King Pool hosted by the Virginia Military Institute.
Senior co-captain Darby Nevins, junior Hannah Schultz and junior Kayla Allen led the Gaels (6-9, 3-3 MAAC) with three goals each, while senior co-captain Rebecca Koshy had two scores. Junior Megan Hofer and freshman Regan Warmoth scored one goal each.
In goal, junior Britten Vilander had nine saves, six steals and five assists. On defense, the Gaels made nine steals, five by Allen, and blocked two Siena shots. Iona drew five Saints ejections, while being kicked out four times, and committing six turnovers. The Gaels scored on one-of-four man-up advantages, while stopping the Saints on their three man-up chances.
With 58 seconds gone in the match, Allen put Iona on the board, followed by Koshy for a 2-0 Gael lead in the opening two minutes. Nevins hit two straight scores to give Iona a 4-0 advantage with 4:15 left in the first period. Siena answered with 1:08 to go, then Warmoth put Iona up 5-1 just 28 ticks later. Vilander assisted on three of Iona’s five first-period goals.
In the second period, Nevin’s third goal, along with straight scores from Schultz and Hofer, gave the Gaels an 8-1 lead at intermission as the Saints failed to score. Allen and Schultz both hit their second goals in the third quarter to give the Gaels a 10-1 advantage going into the final period. The Gaels added three goals by Allen, Schultz and Koshy in the fourth quarter, while Siena hit a five-meter penalty shot with 2:16 remaining in regulation.
Iona head coach Brian Kelly credited his goalie’s “high level” performance as leading his defensive in the win.
“We’re playing really good defensive water polo now lead by Britten Vilander,” Kelly said. “When your goalie is playing at such a high level, it makes the shooters think twice, allowing the defenders to make aggressive plays.”
On Sunday, the Gaels will face Villanova University at 9 a.m., and host VMI at 5:30 p.m.