CAMBRIDGE, MA - In an intense physical game with six ties and five lead changes, the Iona College men’s water polo team lost to first-place Harvard University 18-15 in the first of three weekend Collegiate Water Polo Association matches.
Junior Jake Lloyd led the Gaels with four goals, while junior Ian Thompson hit three times. Seniors Sean Davis, Lee Stiles and Matthew Stelnicki scored two goals each, and juniors James Ramaley and Kyle Elmore scored one goal apiece. Senior goalie Stefen Hill recorded nine saves.
On two unanswered goals from Thompson and Stiles in the opening minute-and-a-half, Iona led 2-0, until Harvard answered with three consecutive scores for a 3-2 advantage with 3:30 left in the first period. The Gaels rallied with three straight goals from Stelnicki, Elmore and Lloyd to take a lead 5-3 into the second period.
The teams traded goals until Harvard hit two in a row to tie the score at seven with 3:12 left before half. Twenty-three seconds later Davis put Iona up 8-7, but the Crimson hit two straight goals in the closing 1:30, until Lloyd’s second goal with 14 seconds left tied the match at nine at intermission.
Two quick Gaels goals from Thompson and Stiles in the opening minute of the third gave Iona an 11-9 edge. But Harvard frustrated the Iona defense with five straight scores to grab a 14-11 lead with 2:28 left in the third. Thompson, followed by Ramaley, put the Gaels within one 14-13 with 44 seconds left in the period. Harvard hit the back of the net with five seconds left for a 15-13 edge going into the final period.
Two minutes and 22 seconds into the fourth quarter, Davis’ second goal pulled the Gaels back to within one 15-14. The Crimson scored for a two-goal edge 16-14 ten seconds later. Lloyd’s fourth score with 5:07 left in regulation cut the host’s lead back to one 16-15. The Crimson scored twice in the final 4:30 to seal the 18-15 win.
Iona faces the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge tomorrow at 9:30 am, then wraps up the regular season at Connecticut College at 2:00 pm.