Water Polo Dominates at Bison Invitational


Water Polo proved their national ranking in the pool this past weekend. (Courtesy of Fordham Athletics)

Fordham Water Polo rolled through the Bison Invitational this weekend in Lewisburg, Pennsylvania, going a perfect 4–0. Arguably, the most exciting match of the weekend came in the first event against the host, 15th ranked Bucknell University. 

After leading 4–3 after the opening quarter, the Rams got off to a quick start in the second, scoring the opening three goals of the period. Two of these came from freshman driver George Papanikolaou from Athens, Greece. This momentum gave the Rams an 8–4 lead at the half, subsequently carrying into the third quarter through another three consecutive goal-scoring outbreaks. Fordham held on to their lead, finishing the first match of the weekend with a 13–9 victory. 

This win served as the first time Fordham has defeated the Bisons in consecutive games at Bucknell with their last match in 2019. 

Papanikolaou finished the first match with four goals and two assists, driving the offensive production. He commented on the team’s performance, “We had some difficult games this weekend, and I think that we did great. We can always find something to improve on and be ready for our next conference games.” In response to being previously named the Mid-Atlantic Water Polo Conference (MAWPC) Rookie of the Week, he added “I am very happy with the [award], but the only thing that matters to me is winning with the team.”

This success continued after the opening match, as they rounded out Saturday with a 14–6 victory over Mercyhurst University. Freshman driver Mark Katsev from Brooklyn led the way with four goals and two assists of his own, keeping the Rams perfect on day one.

Day two brought wins against both Wagner College and Mount St. Mary’s University. Fordham bested Wagner 15–10 to open up Sunday, with graduate utility Hans Zdolsek and freshman driver Jacopo Parrella each adding four goals on offense. 

The Rams knocked off Mount St. Mary’s, 21–8, in the final match, the first-ever meeting between the two schools. Fordham got off to an extremely hot start, holding a 14–4 lead at the half that was not overtaken. The offensive production in this match came from Lucas Nieto Jasny, yet another freshman driver, who scored five goals on just five shots. 

This will certainly improve Fordham’s rank in the MAWPC polls, which sat 20th in the nation before the Bison Invitational.

Fordham hosts their first opponent at the Francis B. Messmore Aquatics Center, as conference competitor Navy travels to the Bronx to take on the Rams. That begins on Sunday, Sept. 26 at 10:00 a.m.