Water Polo Named MAWPC East Regular Season Champions

Fordham Water Polo capped off a remarkable regular season with a win, another successful weekend, and most importantly an MAWPC championship, hoping that their season will only continue from here.


Lercari has patrolled the Rams’ net well in place of O’Mara, who Fordham aims to see in net for the upcoming MAWPC Championship. (Courtesy of Fordham Athletics)

After a 3–1 weekend on the road to finish in conference play, the No. 15 ranked Fordham water polo team has been named the Mid-Atlantic Water Polo Conference (MAWPC) East Regular Season Champions. This is Fordham’s first regular season title since 2009, finishing with an 11–1 record in the conference and 23–5 overall. 

The first match and victory of the weekend came in Maryland, as they played Mount St. Mary’s University, winning 17–9. Fordham scored six goals in the opening quarter, following that with a five-goal second period. The Rams lead persisted, in large part behind strong performances from three freshmen. Jacopo Parrella dazzled with four goals, four assists and two steals, while George Papanikolaou added four goals, three assists and four steals. Additionally, Thomas Lercari played in net for the majority of the game over the usual senior captain Bailey O’Mara. 

Fordham’s perfect record in the MAWPC came to an end as they fell to Johns Hopkins University on Saturday 13–12, who they handily defeated earlier in the season. Sophomore Christos Loupakis’ four goals steered the way on offense, but ultimately they were not enough to bring the Rams to victory. While Fordham played behind for the majority of the match, a late game comeback effort came up just short in their first match of the day.

Saturday’s second match brought the same margin of victory, this time Fordham on the winning enJd, as they defeated the Naval Academy 10–9. The Rams jumped out to a quick 3–0 lead behind goals from Hans Zdolsek and Gabriel Melillo. While the Midshipmen made things close, Fordham maintained at least a one goal lead for the majority of the match.

The weekend’s final contest came as Fordham played in D.C. against George Washington University. The first half was extremely close, with back-and-forth leads between the two teams, Fordham up 9–8 at the half. This trend continued with another match going down to the wire. The Rams led 12–11 late in the fourth quarter, where a clutch Thomas Lercari block in net sealed Fordham’s victory, giving them the MAWPC East regular season title and the No. 1 seed at the MAWPC Championship. Freshman Jacopo Parrella finished with three goals and five assists, adding this onto the team’s overall success on the year ahead of the MAWPC championship.

“We are happy with this first goal, but we are aware of having to work hard during these two weeks because anything can happen in a single game. Every team we meet will give their all to fight us. We are aware of our potential but we have to show it.” 

Looking ahead, Fordham hosts St. Francis College at Brooklyn at the Colonel Francis B. Messmore Aquatic Center on Friday, Nov. 12 at 7:30 p.m. for its final regular season match. This also serves as the Rams senior night. Following this, Fordham travels to Annapolis, Maryland for the Mid-Atlantic Water Polo Championship.