Water Polo Stumbles Against St. Francis Brooklyn on Senior Day Before MAWPC Tournament

Fordham Water Polo’s successful season ended on a sour note, as St. Francis Brooklyn put a hold on their senior day celebrations, but the Rams enter as the top seed in the MAWPC Tournament looking to bring a trophy home to the Bronx.

Water+Polo+suffered+one+of+few+losses+on+the+season+as+they+hope+to+reach+full+strength+for+the+conference+tournament.+%28Courtesy+of+Fordham+Athletics%29

Water Polo suffered one of few losses on the season as they hope to reach full strength for the conference tournament. (Courtesy of Fordham Athletics)

Jack Roche, Staff Writer

The No. 16 ranked Fordham water polo squad has officially concluded its regular-season play. While ending on a slightly disappointing note, the team still earned its first Mid-Atlantic Water Polo Conference East regular season title since 2009.

On Friday night, the team celebrated its senior night event in the Francis B. Messmore Aquatics Center for the final home match of the season. Bailey O’Mara, Dimitris Koukias and Hans Zdolsek were all honored as seniors representing the Rams. However, only Zdolsek was able to suit up, with O’Mara and Koukias both dealing with injuries ahead of their match against St. Francis College of Brooklyn.

Dimitris Koukias, from Greece, reflected on his experience with water polo at Fordham and beyond. “Being one of the three seniors at senior night made me have mixed feelings. [I felt the] joy of ending my athletic pursuit at this university and nostalgia because my water polo journey has finally come to an end after 12 whole years.”

The team sorely missed Koukias and O’Mara on Friday, as they played one of their most lopsided games of the season, falling 13–7 to the Terriers. St. Francis Brooklyn got off to an early lead, thanks in large part to a fast-paced offense that controlled the match’s tempo from start to finish. The Terriers also benefited from Djordje Stoiljkovic’s extremely strong play in net with 14 saves.

Freshman George Papanikolaou had two goals and two steals while freshman Jacopo Parrella had a goal and three assists for Fordham. The good news for the shorthanded Rams is that this out-of-conference match has no implications on the upcoming MAWPC Tournament, taking place in Annapolis, Maryland from Nov. 19-21.

Koukias added that the team is ready for their biggest test of the season. “Heading into the tournament next weekend, we feel very confident. We are very excited about our MAWPC regular-season championship, and we will do our best to bring the trophy to the Bronx.”

Fordham travels to Maryland as the tournament’s top seed, with their opponent yet to be revealed.