Parrella’s Game Winner Keeps Water Polo’s Hot Streak Going

Fordham Water Polo keeps on winning, this time, with a dominant showing against Johns Hopkins and some late game heroics courtesy of Jacopo Parrella to remain undefeated in home and conference competition.


The 17th-ranked Fordham water polo team went 2–0 on the weekend to stay perfect at home and in conference play. They hosted the Johns Hopkins University Blue Jays and the Bucknell University Bison at the Colonel Francis B. Messmore Aquatic Center. Fordham improves to 20–4 on the season and 8–0 in the Mid-Atlantic Water Polo Conference (MAWPC), winners of 16 of their last 17 matches.

Day one brought new faces in the pool, especially with freshmen Thomas Lercari starting in net instead of senior captain Bailey O’Mara. While O’Mara was simply given a day of rest, Lercari’s strong defensive showing served as a promising glimpse into the future. He led the way with 15 saves and also poured in five assists with a steal. Fordham bested Johns Hopkins 19–4, as the Blue Jays competed without their best player Emerson Sullivan, the reigning MAWPC Offensive Player of the Week.

Fordham’s offense came primarily from freshman George Papanikolaou and sophomore Christos Loupakis, who each had four goals. Additionally, Jacopo Parrella contributed three goals, three assists and five steals while freshman Lucas Nieto Jasny added three goals and an assist. A full team effort steered the Rams to victory on Saturday, but the weekend’s most exciting moment came on Sunday in a thrilling overtime match that resulted in a 14–13 Fordham win over Bucknell. 

Fordham surrendered the game’s first score but struck back with three consecutive goals. This gave the Rams a 5–2 lead heading into the second quarter. This period brought less scoring as Fordham maintained its slim lead heading into the half, 7–5. However, this gap dissipated in the second half, as the Bison’s five-goal third quarter compared to Fordham’s one gave Bucknell a 10–8 lead. The Bison clung to this two goal gap with just over a minute left in regulation with the opportunity to widen it to three through a penalty shot. However, a clutch O’Mara save gave Fordham the opportunity to begin a late game comeback.

A man-up goal from Jacopo Parrella cut the lead to just one with 47 seconds remaining, and with just five seconds to go in regulation, Parrella scored again, forcing overtime. Fordham jumped out to a 13–12 lead in OT, but Bucknell quickly responded to force a sudden death period. There, Parrella scored his season-high sixth goal to end his spectacular day and give Fordham its first sudden death overtime win since 2015 at Iona College.

Looking ahead, Fordham goes on the road to Emmitsburg, Maryland as they face off against Mount St. Mary’s University on Friday, November 5 at 7:30 PM. This is the second time the two teams have played, as Fordham claimed victory on Sept. 18, 21–8, when they met in the Bison Invitational. Then they play back-to-back matches against Johns Hopkins and the Naval Academy on Saturday before battling George Washington University on Sunday to finish conference play.