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Gabriel Melillo helps Fordham University to historic title in US

Young Malta international Gabriel Melillo scored a goal to help his team Fordham University to an historic title in the United States.

The Sirens ASC youngster was on the scoresheet as his team Fordham University beat Navy 9-6 to claim the 2021 MAWPC Championship for the first time and an automatic berth into the NCAA Championship.

For Fordham University this will be the first time that they will be playing in the NCAA Championship.

“Today was just incredibly rewarding for us,” said head coach Brian Bacharach. 

“This is a special group, who put in a total team effort and accomplished an amazing feat for our programme.”

The match opened with Navy taking a 2-1 lead after the first quarter of play, but the Rams took charge in the second quarter, scoring three times, while holding Navy without a goal for a 4-2 lead. 

Lucas Nieto Jasny tied the game at two with 3:41 left in the quarter, while Gabriel Melillo put the Rams on top 3-2 with 1:28 remaining. 

Nieto Jasny then snuck in a late extra-man goal just before half-time for the two-goal lead.

After exchanging markers in the third quarter, the Rams extended the lead to three, 6-3, on George Papanikolaou’s third goal of the game, and then maintained that edge going into the final quarter up 7-4.

Navy closed the gap back to two at 7-5 early in the fourth, but back-to-back goals by Jacopo Parrella and Curtis Vidinoff extended the Rams’ lead to four at 9-5, which they would not relinquish. 

The Rams will now play at Princeton, the Northeast Water Polo Conference champion, in the opening round of the NCAA Championship on Saturday, November 27th.  The time for that match is yet to be determined.

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