Bronx, N.Y. – (November 20, 2022) – Behind four-goal performance by both George Papanikolaou and Jacopo Parrella, the Fordham water polo captured its second straight MAWPC Championship on Sunday afternoon, defeating the Bucknell Bison, 14-7, at the Col. Francis B. Messmore Aquatic Center.
With the win, Fordham improved to 26-7 on the year and earned an automatic berth into the NCAA Championship.
Papanikolaou set the tone early for the Rams, scoring a first quarter hat trick to put the Rams up, 3-2, after one.
The Rams then netted the first three goals of the second quarter, extending the lead to 6-2 on markers by Luca Silvestri, Jacopo Parrella, and Lucas Nieto Jasny. Silvestri added a second goal late in the quarter, leaving Fordham with a 7-4 edge at halftime.
Bucknell came back to make it a 7-6 game with 2:23 left in the third quarter, but Christos Loupakis and Jason Hiremath netted back-to-back tallies to re-assert Fordham’s three-goal lead at 9-6, entering the final session.
The fourth quarter was all Rams, outscoring Bucknell, 5-1 in the frame with the final three goals coming from Parrella, while Thomas Lercari stopped a penalty shot and took away any chance of a Bison comeback.
For Fordham, Papanikolaou finished the match with four goals, three assists, and two steals, while Parrella also had four goals, two steals, and an assist. Silvestri had three markers in the game with Hiremath adding a goal, two assists, and two steals. In net, Lercari finished with 14 saves including a penalty blocks, while Riccardo DiGiuseppe added one more save in the final minute.
In a vote of the league’s coaches, Fordham’s Nir Gross was selected as the MVP of the Championship, recording six goals, two steals, and six ejections drawn over the three-game tournament. Gross was also named First Team All-Championship, along with George Papanikolaou, while Lercari and Parrella were named Second Team All-Championship.
The Rams will now take part in the NCAA Championship for the second straight year, as they take on Princeton on November 26th at 12:00 PM.