International Talent Powers Water Polo


Bailey O’Mara, last year’s MVP and one of the co-captains, is a player to watch as Water Polo starts their 2021 campaign. (Courtesy of Fordham Athletics)

After a year of postponements and delays that permitted just a single match, Fordham Water Polo is set to kick off their season on Sept. 4.

The team features seven freshmen on a roster of just 22 players, including newcomer Jacopo Parrella of Naples, Italy. As the team’s preseason ramps up, Parrella will be with the Italian Junior National Team, who will compete at the 2021 FINA World Junior Championship in Prague, Czech Republic. Italy contends in Group A of the preliminary round, taking place from Aug. 28 to Sept. 5. Before his selection to the team, he won a European Championship with the U18 National Team in 2019, as well as the U20 Italian National Championship, also serving as a starter in the Italian A1 League, one of the top leagues in the world. The Rams will certainly be eager for his return upon completion of the tournament.

Of returning players, look no further than senior goalkeeper Bailey O’Mara of Darien, Connecticut. He was named team MVP and co-captain in 2020 and he’ll look to maintain those roles throughout the season. He’s been a prominent member of the team since his freshman year, and a stellar sophomore campaign brought him the accolades of ​​ACWPC All-America Honorable Mention selection and First Team All-MAWPC East. In that same year he set the Rams’ single season record for total saves with 351, breaking the previous number of 311 set by Noah LeBeau in 2014.

This year will also serve as the first full season with head coach Brian Bacharach at the helm after an extremely shortened 2020-21 season. He previously served as an assistant to coach Bill Harris, who has now taken on the role of associate head coach.

“This transition plan was put together by coach Harris several years ago, wholeheartedly embraced by [previous] Athletic Director David Roach and Ed Kull, and all those in the administration,” Bacharach told Fordham Athletics. “Coach Harris has been a great mentor and I am thrilled that we will continue to work together.”

The team kicks off the season on the road against the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge on Sept. 4. Their first home match at the Francis B. Messmore Aquatics won’t come until Sept. 26, when they host Navy in the Bronx.