Follow us on Instagram
Try our daily mini crossword
Play our latest news quiz
Download our new app on iOS/Android!

Men’s water polo takes care of business, defeats Long Island and Iona

Group of men huddle around coach at poolside, with the coach talking to the six players in a pool.
The Tigers will return to California on Friday as they get ready for a seven game road trip, with six of them being ranked opponents in the top 14. 
Photo courtesy of @pwaterpolo/Instagram. 

The calm before the storm. Six days before they are slated to fly to California to play seven games in nine days, the men’s water polo team (16–2 overall, 5–0 Northeast Water Polo Conference) headed to New York City to play Long Island University (3–11, 1–4) and Iona (7–9, 3–3) on Saturday, Oct. 7.

The first game of the day was against Long Island University (LIU), an opponent the Tigers defeated 14-6 in their season opener.  It would be much of the same on Saturday afternoon, with the Tigers getting out to a strong start. 

Goals from senior attacker and captain Pierce Maloney, first-year utility Finn LeSieur, and junior utility Isaac Rotenberg paced the Tigers to an early 4–0 lead. At the end of the first quarter, it was sophomore utility Logan McCarroll who gave the Tigers a 5–0 lead and completed a shutout in the first period. 

In the second period, senior attacker Yurian Quinones and sophomore utility JP Ohl added their names to the scoresheets, giving Princeton a comfortable 8–1 lead. In the following possession, it was Ohl feeding the ball to junior center George Caras who comfortably put the ball in the back of the net. It was another Ohl pass to Caras the next time down the pool leading to a penalty drawn by Caras. Ohl would convert the penalty to give the Tigers a 10–1 lead. 

LIU would get their second goal of the game with a minute remaining in the half, beating Temkin in goal. With less than 30 seconds remaining in the half, it was junior attacker Gavin Molloy scoring to cap off a dominant first half performance by Princeton. 

The Tigers would start the second half right where they left off, with Caras getting his second goal of the game. The following possession saw junior star utility Roko Pozaric scoring a beautiful goal to make it 13–2 Tigers. 

“Competitiveness at practices has definitely played a crucial role in our success as well as taking responsibility for our mistakes made in games,” Pozaric told The Daily Princetonian. “Our [first-years] are also very talented and have proved that they can play and compete at the highest level.”

The Sharks would score a goal, but Ohl would find junior utility Mason Killion for Princeton’s 14th goal of the game. The next possession would see Ohl draw a penalty, handing it off to Quinones who scored his second of the contest. The last three minutes of the third quarter would see the Tigers lose some focus defensively, giving up three goals to LIU. 

In the fourth quarter, the Tigers would empty their bench giving their starters some rest ahead of the evening contest against Iona. Caras would seal his hat trick and score Princeton’s lone goal of the period. This was Caras’ fifth hat trick of the season and 29th goal on the season, tied with junior defender Vladan Mitrovic for second on the team behind Pozaric. 

The Sharks would score three consolation goals in the fourth quarter to end the game, giving Princeton a 16–8 win, good for its 15th on the season. In goal for the Tigers, sophomore West Temkin had nine saves, taking him to 102 on the season.

Once again during the second game of the day, the Tigers started strong against the Gaels. They completed yet another first period shutout, leading 4–0 after eight minutes of play. In the second period, Princeton dominated and jumped out to a 10–3 lead at the break. 

In the second half, both sides would exchange goals going back and forth. Iona would never get within five goals, and the Tigers would cruise to a 16–9 victory on the road as they sealed their fifth straight win. The 16–2 start to the season is the Tigers’ best start through 18 games since 2003, when the team started 17–2. 

Against Iona, it was first-year goalie Kristof Kovács starting for the Tigers, recording a career-high 20 saves against Iona. 20 saves in a game is tied for third all-time in a Princeton game.

Now, the Tigers will turn their attention to their annual California fall break trip. The trip will see head coach Dustin Litvak’s squad play seven games in a nine-day span. Six of those games will be against teams ranked in the top 14 nationally. The trip starts on Sunday with a game at No. 8 University of California-Irvine (11–5, 1–0 Big West) at 3 p.m. ET (12 p.m. local time). 

The trip will be an extremely big test for Litvak’s squad, which hopes to show the nation that they will compete for a national championship this season. “We are all excited for this trip and games,” Pozaric said. “Our last California trip was a disappointment for us, however, our weaknesses were exposed and we know what we need to work on.”

Pozaric was confident in his team’s abilities; “This trip is our opportunity for redemption, a journey where the Garden State Warriors will return stronger than ever.”

Hayk Yengibaryan is an associate editor for the Sports section at the ‘Prince.’

Please send corrections to corrections[at]