To kick off its 2017-2018 campaign the Gannon University men’s water polo team traveled to Annapolis, Md., for the Navy Open.
Unfortunately for the Division II Knights the weekend didn’t end up how they would have hoped, as they went 1-3 playing all NCAA Division I schools.
The action began at 1:30 p.m. Saturday against Johns Hopkins University as Gannon fell 12-11. Nick Williams led the charge for the Knights tallying four goals against the Blue Jays.
The Knights were able to remain neck and neck with Johns Hopkins with a tie at 5-5 at half. However, the break proved beneficial for the Blue Jays as they went on a scoring run and despite a couple goals from freshman Thomas Squeglia and redshirt junior Zarko Sadikovic, Gannon wasn’t able to pull off the win.
Game two reared a similar result as the Knights fell 11-7 to Fordham University. Williams tied his goal total from the previous game totaling eight on the day. Williams now ranks 18th for total goals scored for Gannon with 80.
Senior Gilberto Millan netted his first goal of the season with 2 minutes and 27 seconds left in the second quarter. The Knights held the Rams to a 4-3 lead in the first half but Fordham pulled away for the win in the second half.
Millan said his personal goal is to help lead the Knights to a successful Southern Division championship.
Gannon’s first win of the season came Sunday during an 11 a.m. matchup with the Gaels of Iona College. The Knights won on the back of Sadikovic, who led the 6-4 win with two goals.
The first quarter was a defensive showdown as Iona drew first blood, scoring the only goal of the quarter with 39 seconds left. Millan responded with his second goal of the season, and 128th of his career, in the second quarter.
The match would stay tied until the half. In the third, Gannon tallied one goal while the Gaels notched two of them going into the fourth quarter 3-2 in favor of Iona.
Sophomore Jack Donnelly tied it up in the fourth while Sadikovic scored the go-ahead goal leading Gannon to a 6-4 victory.
Later on the Knights matched up with Navy’s “B” team in an exhibition game. Despite scoring 10 goals the Knights were unable to top Navy’s 13.
Navy jumped out early with a 4-0 lead, which was ended by a Squeglia goal. After the first Navy led 5-3, and before halftime The Midshipman led 7-3 before Gannon went on a 4-1 run to bring it within one at 8-7 going into half.
Williams tied the game at 8-8 in the third at the 6:40 mark. However, Navy went on a 5-2 run, and ultimately closed the match with a 13-10 lead.
Millan said he has high hopes for the team and thinks they were very competent the whole weekend against really good teams a division above Gannon. He was also pleased that the Knights beat a Division I college.
“The freshmen also did very good in their first tournament playing collegiate water polo, and with a new team,” Millan said.
“I see this team going very far if we keep working hard and being a team in the games.”
After a long trip to Maryland the Knights will catch a break this weekend. They will be playing in the Mercyhurst Invitational at the Prep/Villa Events Center. Game one is penciled in for noon Saturday followed by a match at 5:30 p.m.
The Knights also have games scheduled for 9 a.m. and 12:45 p.m. Sunday. Three of the first four games are considered exhibition matches.by