Water Polo Tops Iona and St. Francis Brooklyn
Courtesy: SportsPhotoGuy.com for VMI

POUGHKEEPSIE, N.Y. – Looking for revenge against Iona College after falling to the Gaels by a close 8-6 score three weeks ago, the VMI water polo team accomplished the task by defeating the Gaels in overtime, 13-12, Sunday morning in Poughkeepsie, New York. Later in the day the Keydets would defeat St. Francis Brooklyn by an 18-10 score to earn a sweep for the day and second win over the Terriers this season. 

With the win over Iona, VMI (18-9, 6-5) earned a season split with the Gaels and improved its chances of qualifying for the postseason MAAC tournament at the end of April. The Keydets look to solidify their chances next weekend with crucial matchups against No. 24 Marist and Villanova on the docket.

"We got a couple of big wins today,” said VMI head coach Ryan Pryor. “I was really proud of the resilience the team showed in both games.  We were down at halftime and going into the fourth quarter against Iona and the team continued to stay focused and executed well down the stretch to force overtime and ultimately get the win.”

Shelby Barkley led VMI with four goals against the Gaels and was trailed by fellow senior Natalie Rivas who notched three. Sophomore Emma Perez scored twice while Sophia DelBondio and Emma Noble had the other Keydets goals for the morning matchup.

With Barkley’s four goals against Iona, she broke her personal record of 86 goals from last season. She would go on to score four more against St. Francis and now has 92 goals on the season, one shy of the VMI record set by Celine Lazzaro from the 2013 season.

Goalie Isabel French registered 13 saves in the win.

VMI 18, St. Francis Brooklyn 10

After a slow start, the Keydets had little trouble in their second match of the day by cruising to the 18-10 win over the Terriers.

Sarah Dolitsky paced VMI by matching her season high of six goals and was followed by Barkley’s four. Rebecca Serrano added three goals and Noble and Perez each tallied two. Rivas also had a goal for the Keydets in the match.

“We got off to a bit of a slow start against St. Francis, then really turned it on to pull away,” Pryor said. “The team never got flustered when we were trailing and I believe that calm was integral to our ability to have a strong finish to both games.”

French tallied her second highest saves total of the season and her career by notching 20 in the match, two short of her personal best and VMI record. Senior Catie Berry also saw time in the cage and earned one save in the win.

The Keydets conclude the regular season next weekend with two matches Saturday and one season finale Sunday. VMI faces Siena at noon in Philadelphia and No. 24 Marist at 7:30 p.m.

On Sunday the Keydets battle Villanova at noon in what could be the deciding match of which school qualifies for the MAAC tournament the last weekend in April.