PROVIDENCE, R.I. -- Mike Hay (So., Souderton, Pa./Souderton) claimed Player of the Game honors for scoring four goals as the Fordham University Rams overcame Northern Division rival Iona College, 11-6, to claim 11th place at the 2013 Collegiate Water Polo Association (CWPA) Championship.
The Rams (14-19) trailed early in the game but used 3-2 scoring advantages in both the second and third quarters to build an 8-6 lead by the start of the fourth quarter. In the final frame, Fordham pulled away from the Gaels (7-27) via a 3-0 run to claim victory and finish 11th in the 12-team championship field.
Six different players found the back of the cage for Fordham as Patrick Lenihan (So., Del Mar, Calif./Torrey Pines) and Bobby Wurtz (So., Lafayette Hill, Pa./William Penn Charter) chipped in pairs of markers, while R.J Simmons (Fr., Irvine, Calif./Northwood), Nicholas Allen (Sr., Norwalk, Conn./Suffield Academy) and Dan Kearney (Sr., Danville, Calif./De La Salle) contributed single scores to help the Rams even their record against Iona this season.
In their three prior meetings during the regular season and Northern Division Championship tournament, Fordham was 1-2 (11-10 W, 10-8 L, 12-11 L OT) against Iona.
Facing Iona for the fourth time, the Rams appeared fell behind early as Lee Stiles (Sr., Lederach, Pa./Souderton) put the Gaels on the board 36 seconds into the first quarter for a quick 1-0 Iona lead. Lenihan balanced the scoreboard at 6:05 with a man-up goals, but Iona went back in front at 5:16 with another tally by Stiles to go ahead 2-1.
The momentum in the game began to shift to Fordham by the conclusion of the first quarter as Simmons slammed in a strike at the 1:44 mark to make it two-all before Hay put the Rams in front with a marker at the 7:15 mark of the second quarter for a 3-2 lead.
Iona answered Hay's score with one of their own from the hand of Sean Davis (Sr., Chicago, Ill./Brother Rice) at 5:53 to retie the score at three-all, but back-to-back shots by Wurtz (5:27) and Hay (4:50) put the Rams back into the lead at 5-3.
Bryan Driscoll (Sr., Tustin, Calif./Foothill) sliced the lead back to 5-4 prior to the halftime horn as he beat his defender, rose and rifled in a shot to put the Gaels back within striking distance.
However, consecutive scores by Lenihan (5:07) and Allen (3:57) pushed the lead to 7-4 as Fordham appeared to be primed to pull away for an easy win.
Iona had a different opinion on how the game would conclude as Davis swished an even-strength score at 3:04 and Gerardo Sanchez Rivera (So., Carolina, Puerto Rico/Collegio Maria Auxiliadora) finished a man-up chance at 2:09 to axe the lead down to 7-6.
Needing a score to stifle the Gaels' comeback hopes, Hay delivered his third goal of the game at the 1:21 mark of the third quarter to make it 8-6.
Hay's score started a 4-0 run by the Rams that spanned the end of the third quarter to the final horn as Wurtz finished a six-on-five chance (6:20), Hay heaved in another even-strength score (3:48) and Kearney netted a natural tally (51 seconds) in the fourth quarter for the 11-6 final score.
For Iona, Davis and Stiles both put away pairs of goals, while Sanchez Rivera and Driscoll each chipped in single scores.
In cage, Noah LeBeau (Jr., Long Beach, Calif./Wilson Classical) earned the win for Fordham with 11 saves, while Stefen Hill (Sr., Shillington, Pa./Governor Mifflin) suffered the loss with six stops.
Iona Goals: Sean
Davis (2); Lee Stiles (2); Gerardo Sanchez Rivera; Bryan Driscoll
Mike Hay (4); Patrick Lenihan (2); Bobby Wurtz (2); R.J Simmons;
Nicholas Allen; Dan Kearney
Saves: Iona - Stefen Hill (6) ; Fordham - Noah LeBeau (11)
Exclusions: Iona - 7 ; Fordham - 4
Advantage Opportunities: Iona - 1-for-4 ; Fordham - 2-for-7
Sprints: Iona - 3-for-4 (2nd, 3rd, 4th) ; Fordham - 1-for-4 (1st)
Cards: YC - Iona (Bryan Driscoll, 4:21 left in 4th)
Officials: Humberto Navarro, Josh Kratz
Fordham University's Andrew