NEW ROCHELLE, NY -- The Iona College men's water polo team completed a four-game CWPA Northern Division home weekend with losses to MIT and Harvard at the Hynes Center Pool. The Gaels and Engineers needed overtime to resolve the outcome, a heartbreaking 18-16 defeat for the home team in the opener. The No. 18 Crimson jumped out to an early lead in the night cap to earn a 22-13 win.
GAME 1: MIT 18, Iona 16 OT
Despite a six-goal fourth quarter rally, Iona fell 18-16 in double overtime to MIT in a match that featured nine ties and seven lead changes Sunday morning
Sophomore Zach Roper led the Gaels with four goals, including three game-tying scores, while junior Chris Ellis and Matt Rothman had three goals each. Junior Hudson Grieve and sophomore Patrick Judge hit two goals apiece, and sophomore Marc Stauble and freshman Andres Guerra accounted for the final two tallies. Senior Matt McCrudden recorded eight saves and freshman Anthony Zdanavicius had six between the pipes.
On defense, the Gaels drew 14 MIT ejections, which resulted in three Engineers being disqualified, compared to seven Iona ejections. Judge and Ellis drew five-meter penalty shots, and Ellis hit them both, including a game-tying goal in the second overtime period. The Gaels had three blocks and two steals.
Just 36 seconds into the match, Judge gave Iona its first lead on a 6-5 advantage, followed by an Ellis five-meter penalty score to put the Gaels up 2-0 with 1:10 gone. MIT - receiving votes in this week’s national poll - scored on its next possession to trim Iona’s lead to 2-1. With 5:03 left in the first, Rothman increased Iona’s edge to 3-1, but MIT answered 20 ticks later. Twenty-one seconds later, Grieve scored on another 6-5 advantage, but MIT ran off three straight scores to tie the game and go ahead 5-4 as the opening period ended.
The second quarter featured three ties and two lead changes, as Roper and Rothman put Iona up 6-5 in the opening four minutes. Within a minute, MIT answered with two more to tie and pull ahead 6-5 with 1:44 to go. Grieve’s second goal knotted the game at seven at intermission.
Just 1:57 into the third, Stauble hit another 6-on-5 goal to put Iona up 8-7. MIT stormed back, however, with three straight scores for a 10-8 lead with 3:42 left. Guerra got the Gaels within one 10-9, but the Engineers scored twice for 12-9 edge, the largest lead by either team, as the final quarter began.
In the opening three minutes of the fourth, the Iona offense caught fire by outscoring MIT 4-1 on single goals by Judge, Guerra and two from Roper, including a steal-breakaway score. At the 4:08 mark, Guerra’s goal tied the match at 13, then MIT regained the lead 14-13 ten ticks later. With only one second left on the shot clock, Roper hit his fourth goal to knot the match at 14 with 3:26 left, followed by Rothman’s third score for a 15-14 Gael edge with 2:01 to go in regulation. MIT retied the game at 15 with 1:03 on the clock, as two final-seconds Gaels shots bounced off the cage, and the match went into overtime.
In the first overtime, MIT went back on top 16-15 with 1:42 to go. Stauble’s last second shot went into goal, but was waved off as too late. Ellis’ five-meter penalty shot knotted the game at 16 with 2:18 left in the second overtime, but two MIT scores sealed the win for the visitors.
GAME 2: Harvard 22, Iona 13
Iona dropped a 22-13 decision to No. 18 Harvard in the weekend's finale.
Grieve, Ellis, Roper, and Stauble led Iona (2-9, 1-4 CWPA North) with two goals each. Senior Rafael Romero, sophomores Jonathan Hulbert, Jay Pagano, and Randy Weiskittel and freshman Jason Hill added one goal each. In goal, McCrudden recorded three saves and Zdanavicius had two. On defense, the Gaels drew 14 Harvard ejections, while having eight called on them, and made two steals.
In the opening five minutes, Harvard raced to a 4-0 lead, until Romero put Iona on the board with 2:23 left in the first quarter. The Crimson added two more goals to lead 6-1 going into the second period. Harvard outscored Iona 8-3 in the second quarter with the Gaels getting goals from Stauble, Roper and Grieve, but trailed 14-4 at halftime.
With both teams scoring six goals in the third period, Ellis hit a five-meter penalty shot with 25 seconds gone. But Harvard responded with two straight goals to lead 16-5 with 6:27 left. In the next two minutes, Stauble and Roper scored their second goals to narrow the visitors’ lead to 16-7. The teams traded goals with five-meter penalty shots from Grieve and Hill, along with Pagano’s score, yet Harvard held a ten-goal advantage 20-10 as the final period began.
The Gaels outscored the Crimson 3-2 in the fourth quarter with Hulbert, Ellis and Weiskittel finding the back of the net.
Iona travels to archrival Fordham on Thursday, Oct. 8, for a 7:30 p.m. match against the Rams.