Fall Preview: Water Polo Looks to Carry Over Late-Season Success

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Fall Preview: Water Polo Looks to Carry Over Late-Season Success

Fordham Water Polo got off to a slow start last season, but will look to build off last season's strong finish. (Julia Comerford/The Fordham Ram)

Fordham Water Polo got off to a slow start last season, but will look to build off last season's strong finish. (Julia Comerford/The Fordham Ram)

Fordham Water Polo got off to a slow start last season, but will look to build off last season's strong finish. (Julia Comerford/The Fordham Ram)

Fordham Water Polo got off to a slow start last season, but will look to build off last season's strong finish. (Julia Comerford/The Fordham Ram)

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By Sabrina Boyd 

Fordham Men’s Water Polo will enter the 2019 season looking to start strong after a solid 2018 season. In 2018, the Rams struggled to obtain wins early in the year, but ended the season with a balanced 16-16 record overall. The team was also 6-6 in conference play and finished in fourth place at the MAWPC Championships.

The Rams lost six seniors to graduation, including Ian Watson and utility player Magnus Sims, who was second in goals and assists for the team (44 and 48 respectively). Their absence has altered the size dynamic and style of play for the Rams. “We did lose some size on offense at the two-meter position with the loss of Ian Watson, but I believe we will have overall more speed which will allow more counter-attack opportunities,” stated head coach Bill Harris.

Despite these losses, the Rams have significant depth to their roster this season with the inclusion of nine new players in the 2019 recruiting class.

With all these fresh faces, the start of this year will be a major adjustment period for the Rams. For the players, the goal is “just getting used to this new group and get to a point where we feel ready to play together” said senior Jake Miller-Tolt. For the coaches, the mission is “to blend the new arrivals with the returning athletes into a cohesive unit that can be strong contenders in the east” stated Coach Harris.

The new recruits will look to the team’s experienced, standout veterans for leadership and guidance, like sophomore goalkeeper Bailey O’Mara and senior driver Jake Miller-Tolt. Miller-Tolt had a phenomenal 2018 season, netting 104 goals and racking up 68 assists. He also became just the second Fordham Ram to score over 100 goals in a single season, averaging at least one goal in 30 out of 32 games.

The Rams will kick off the 2019 season playing in the Navy Labor Day Open in Annapolis, Maryland, facing the 2018 National Champion UCLA on September 7th. Coach Harris said that the team is looking forward to the UCLA game most, because “it is an opportunity to play against the best in the country.” As for the rest of the season, the Rams hope to continue improving their team defense, aggressive offense, overall movement, and scoring during crucial penalty time situations. Coach Harris declared that the team’s number one goal remains the same; “to improve our conference standing, win our conference and progress to represent the CWPA in the NCAA playoffs in November.”

Though the Rams certainly face some fierce competition, this year’s squad could be a strong competitor with what Coach Harris called “a great group of talented, hard-working athletes.” This 2019 season has all the potential to be successful and exciting.