Water Polo Takes Three of Four at Labor Day Open


Fordham Water Polo’s lone loss of a successful Labor Day weekend came to UCLA. (Courtesy of Fordham Athletics)

Sabrina Boyd

Fordham Men’s Water Polo had a strong showing at the Navy Labor Day Open in Annapolis, Md. this past weekend, starting off its season with a winning record. The Rams played two games on Saturday, falling to #2 ranked UCLA 15–3, but tacking on a 15–7 win against Iona College. On Sunday, the men’s team was victorious in both matches, defeating La Salle University 15–6 and Austin College 21–4. The Fordham Rams came out of the Labor Day Open with a 3–1 record overall. 

Fordham was the clear underdog opening the season against #2 ranked, 2018 National Champion UCLA, taking the opportunity to shake off any lingering start of the season nerves. UCLA was the dominant side, scoring six unanswered goals throughout the first and second period. Fordham finally got on the board midway through the second period with a goal from sophomore Dimitris Koukias. Freshman Skyler Knoflick scored one goal in the third period and senior driver Yuki Saito gave the team its third goal toward the end of the fourth. Ultimately, UCLA maintained a tight grip on the lead, resulting in a 15–3 final score. 

The Rams quickly turned their gameplay around during the second game on Saturday, putting on an offensive show against the Iona Gaels. Junior Phillip Wang scored the first goal of the game for the Rams and five different scorers increased the lead by the end of the first period. Six Fordham players finished the match with two goals apiece. Junior Gordan Rowland and freshman Sebastian Zapatero each scored a goal for the Rams as well. The final score was 15–7, putting the Rams at 1–1 to end the day. 

Both Fordham’s offense and defense were on fire during day two. Against the La Salle Explorers, the contest remained close at the half with Fordham leading only 7–5. By the end of the third quarter, Fordham pulled ahead to a commanding 11–6 lead, before scoring three unanswered goals in the fourth quarter resulting in a 15–6 victory. The Rams faced off against the Austin Kangaroos for the final game of the Open, leading 7–2 within the first eight minutes of the game. Fordham scored six unanswered goals during the third quarter, with freshman Quinn Wagner and junior Sam Wheeler scoring two apiece. Ultimately, Fordham steamrolled ahead to a 21–3 win. 

The Rams showed off their offensive star power during the final two games. Senior Jake Miller-Tolt led the team with 10 goals total on day two. Junior Phillip Wang had seven, and seniors Tristian Knoflick and George Maltby both finished with four. Defensively, sophomore goalkeeper Bailey O’Mara was a commanding presence in the net during game one with five saves and two steals. Against Austin, O’Mara had eight saves before freshman Aldo Ordonez played the last one and a half quarters in goal, racking up 3 saves total. 

All in all, Fordham Water Polo had a fantastic start to its season with three solid victories. The Rams will be back in the pool on September 14 when they travel to New Jersey for the Princeton Invitational. Their first game will be at 7:15 p.m. against Santa Clara.