Water Polo’s First Competition in VMI Aquatic Center and Cadets Honored on Senior Day

Danielle Montenegro, water polo coach, posing with three 1st Class cadet-athletes, Sydney Shettleroe ’23, Katie Lloyd ’23, and Gia Donatelli ’23.

VMI water polo honored (from left) Sydney Shettleroe ’23, Katie Lloyd ’23, and Gia Donatelli ’23 for their contributions to the program before the team played the last match of the day during their inaugural weekend in the VMI Aquatic Center pool April 2, 2023.—Photo courtesy VMI Keydets.

The VMI water polo team wrapped up its inaugural weekend in the VMI Aquatic Center pool April 2, 2023, falling to St. Francis College before a down-to-the-wire match against Mount St. Mary’s University that came up just short of a win.

Senior Day

Before the day’s last match, Gia Donatelli ’23, Katie Lloyd ’23, and Sydney Shettleroe ’23 were honored for their contributions to the Keydet water polo program over the years on Senior Day.


  • Courtney Novotny ’25 and Sydney Smith ’26 register hat tricks against Mount St. Mary’s
  • Lloyd ties season high with 10 saves
  • Donatelli nets three goals, and Shettleroe nets two on Senior Day

Match 1 versus St. Francis

St. Francis Brooklyn took an early 5-0 lead, adding six in the second quarter, but the Keydets got their scoring going, finishing three chances. Donatelli netted two goals in the first match against St. Francis, with four of her teammates scoring once. The Terriers would begin to distance themselves before ultimately taking the game 22-6.

Match 2 versus Mount St. Mary’s

Mount St. Mary’s scored first, but Novotny equalized just seconds later. With the score 2-2, Novotny gave VMI a 3-2 advantage two minutes into the match. Sadie Smith ’26 scored two goals to make the lead 5-2. The Mount answered by taking a two-goal advantage, but Donatelli buried one off the inside of the post to cut the deficit to one. As the game moved into the third quarter, the teams traded scores, with Smith scoring her third to make the score 9-8 in favor of the Mount. Mount St. Mary’s slowly took control with 13-8, but the Keydets battled to the end, getting goals from Novotny and Smith before dropping the match 14-10.

Box Scores

Box Score 1
Box Score 2

Editor’s Note: This story first appeared at