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North Allegheny grad plays starring role for Gannon water polo team

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North Allegheny alum Drago Marjanovic gave Gannon men’s water polo an added boost after being named varsity Division II All-America by the Association of Collegiate Water Polo Coaches.

Marjanovic, 20, was one of eight players tabbed for the first team.

“He is an international student and only a sophomore,” said Golden Knight coach Shane Unger. “Students who may be looking to come here from another country can look at what Drago has done and see that success is attainable by coming to a school like Gannon.

“It is a great recruiting tool.”

Marjanovic, who moved from Belgrade, Serbia, in August 2017 and starred for the North Allegheny boys that year, scored the winning goal in overtime in the Mid-Atlantic Water Polo Conference West Region championship game. He made first team all-tournament.

He finished the season with a team-high 63 goals and 28 assists in 21 games, helping the Golden Knights to an 18-4 record.

“We were preparing the whole season to qualify for (the) Mid-Atlantic conference championship and our goal was accomplished,” Marjanovic said. “I will be sad if this success turns out to be the (farthest) we get in my career.”

Unger said it was no accident Marjanovic earned accolades.

“Drago is at the pool before everyone else, stretching and mentally preparing for practice,” Unger said. “He is always the last one to leave.

“He stays after and takes extra shooting practice once everyone has gotten out of the pool. He is a scholarship athlete (who) understands the value of the assistance he gets to come to this country and play a sport he loves while receiving a quality education.”

Unger said Marjanovic, a business major, also is a high-level student.

“To have a young man who understands the opportunity he has been given, (who) takes his natural ability and (combines) it with an extraordinary work ethic in the pool and the classroom, is rare,” Unger said.

Marjanovic said North Allegheny coach Damir Matanovic and former coach Nikola Malezanov, a native of Serbia, helped him go to Gannon.

“North Allegheny prepared me well for college,” Marjanovic said.

Karen Kadilak is a Tribune-Review contributing writer.


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