The men’s water polo team went 1-3 when they traveled to New Jersey to compete in the Princeton Invitational this past weekend. The Bison started the weekend by dropping a close decision to No. 20 St. Francis (N.Y.) 8-7. In their next two games, the Bison lost to No. 3 California and No. 18 Brown, 20-3 and 12-6, respectively. They bounced back in their final game of the invitational, defeating Fordham 20-8. The Orange and Blue are now 3-3 on the season.
To kick off the weekend, the Orange and Blue fell to St. Francis on Sept. 7. The Bison and Terriers played an even game throughout, responding when the other team tried to pull away. Despite falling behind 3-1 in the first quarter, the Orange and Blue were able to take a 4-3 lead into the intermission. In the second half, the Bison could not stop the Terrier attack and allowed five goals, while only scoring three of their own. Julian Colina ’14 and Mike Kimble ’14 led the Bison in scoring with two goals apiece. Stefan Aleksic ’16 was also strong for the Orange and Blue with two assists and a goal of his own.
“We moved the ball and worked well as a unit together. We also executed our offensive game plan very well, especially against St. Francis. Additionally, our five-man defense was very good. It is one of our strengths as a team and something we can rely on when the games come down to the last few possessions. The team looked good against very stiff competition, but we made a few mistakes that the other teams capitalized on,” Kimble said.
For the Orange and Blue, the second day of the Princeton Invitational started against California. The Bears scored early and often against the Bison, finding the back of the net six times in the first quarter. By the end of the second quarter, California held a commanding 7-1 lead. Along with stifling defense throughout, California ramped up their offensive production in the second half, scoring 10 times in the third quarter. The Bears added three more goals in the fourth to reach 20 total goals. Despite the offensive onslaught, co-captain Matt Napleton ’13 looked strong in goal, stopping 10 shots in the first 16 minutes of play.
In the second game, the Orange and Blue faced Brown. Despite a conscious defensive effort, the Bison could not contain Brown in the first half, allowing the Bears to take a 7-4 lead into the intermission. In the third quarter, the Orange and Blue outscored Brown 2-1 but were unable to find the back of the net in the fourth quarter, resulting in a 12-6 loss. Kimble had two goals and Alex Nowlin ’14 had two assists and a goal, respectively. Again, Napleton was impressive in goal, recording 11 saves in 32 minutes of action.
“We need to work on having consistent play throughout the game and being able to stick to our game plan without panicking if we get down a few goals. As captains, Matt and I will make sure the team is physically and mentally ready for highly competitive practices. This will help us deal with staying consistent in games, dealing with adversity and playing hard for four quarters,” said co-captain Brian Barron ’13.
The Bison showed their resilience in their final game of the weekend by defeating Fordham. The Orange and Blue dominated throughout the game, controlling the tempo of play on the offensive end, while shutting down Fordham on the defensive side of the ball. Aleksic tallied a team-high with eight points from four goals and four assists. Joining him were teammates Jack Else ’14 who had four goals, while Kimble and Barron recorded five points each. In goal, Napleton stopped seven shots in 32 minutes.
The Orange and Blue will travel to Cambridge, Mass. this upcoming weekend to compete in the North/South Tournament. The Bison will begin the tournament by facing host-team Harvard, tomorrow morning at 10:30 a.m.