This past weekend, the men’s water polo team hosted the Bison Invitational, winning both of its tournament games. The Bison started the tournament by defeating MIT 18-12, then used the momentum to edge out a close win over Harvard 10-8, pushing their record to 6-8 on the season. The Bison also won exhibition games against Toronto and the Naval Academy’s “B” team 15-8 and 12-7, respectively.
The Bison kicked off the Invitational by defeating MIT 18-12, marking the first Orange and Blue victory in the last six games. The Bison came out ready to play against the Engineers, scoring five of the game’s first six goals and never looking back. The Orange and Blue matched their offensive production in the first quarter with five more goals in the second and third quarters. On the whole, the Bison never trailed in the match. Jack Else ’14 and Stefan Aleksic ’16 led the Bison scoring with four goals apiece. Mike Kimble ’14, Julian Colina ’14, Alex Nowlin ’14 and Nick Hale ’16 also chipped in with multi-goal performances. In the high scoring affair, Nowlin led the team with seven total points, adding five assists to the two goals he scored. In goal, Matt Napleton ’13 stopped seven shots in 32 minutes of play.
“Playing at home was great as always. We have the best fans in the league and Bucknell is the hardest place for opponents to come in and play at. We’re looking forward to playing at home in a couple weeks in front of some really rowdy crowds,” Napleton said.
In the team’s second official game of the tournament, the Orange and Blue won a nail-biter against Harvard 10-8. The Bison jumped out to an early lead, thanks in part to the Orange and Blue outscoring the Crimson 4-1 in the second quarter. Despite a four goal second half deficit, Harvard responded in the third, scoring three quick goals and cutting the Bison lead to one. In the fourth, the Crimson were the first to find the back of the net, tying the game at eight with 5:45 to play. The Orange and Blue responded with Hale scoring a go-ahead goal. Only slightly over a minute later, Kimble added to the Bison victory with another goal.
The most notable Bison performance came from Napleton who, in 32 minutes of action, recorded a career-high 21 saves in goal, beating his previous high of 16. Additionally, Napleton became the first Bison since career saves record-holder David Kennedy ’02 to record 20 saves in a game. Nowlin and Hale led the Orange and Blue on the offensive end, registering a team-high four points each, both from two goals and two assists. Kimble also made a strong contribution with three goals.
“While we won all four games, no one on the team was proud of the final result. We have a lot to work on in order to be able to run our defense against better teams. It’s all going to come down to everyone on the team being on the exact same page and listening to what our coaches are telling us,” Nowlin said.
The Orange and Blue will head to Princeton tomorrow for a league game before coming home to host four more league games against Johns Hopkins, Navy, George Washington and Princeton on Oct. 13 and 14.