No. 24 Bison start strong in the Bucknell Invitational

Laurel McHale, Senior Writer

The Bison women’s water polo team had a successful opening weekend of their season. The No. 24-ranked Bison beat LaSalle and St. Francis Brooklyn but took a tough loss against Wagner.

In the opening match against LaSalle, the two teams proved to be tough competitors, keeping it close throughout. It was a low-scoring first period with LaSalle taking an early 2-0 lead over the Orange and Blue. The second quarter was a high-scoring frenzy, with nine goals scored between both teams. The Bison accounted for six of those points. Paige Furano ’22, Isabelle Monaghan ’24 and Larissa Hodzic ’22 each scored in the frame. The Bison led 6-5 at the half. 

LaSalle tied the game for the fourth time with a goal with 5:48 remaining, but a first career goal by Ali Jackson ’25 with 2:58 to go gave Bison a cushion going into the final minutes. Hodzic netted the eventual game-winning goal with 1:06 left to gain a two-goal advantage and propel the Bison to a win over the Explorers. The final score was 10-9 in favor of the Bison. 

​​Furano and Hodzic each scored three goals for the Bison in the victory, while Izzy Lippolis ’25 and Jackson each scored their first career goals. Annika Lampen ’25 made three saves in the win.  

“Our win against LaSalle was great for the team, it gave us the motivation and momentum we needed to start off the season. We were most proud of the progress we’ve had since our initial loss to La Salle during the off-season,” Hodzic said.

Later in the afternoon, the Bison prevailed in another close game against St. Francis of Brooklyn. The Bison came out strong with a 4-1 lead after the first quarter.

The Orange and Blue scored the first goal of the second quarter making the score 5-1, but St. Francis netted three of four goals to cut the Bison lead to 6-4. 

St. Francis carried on this momentum in the second half, pulling within one in just the first 20 seconds of the third quarter. Chloe Smith ’23 netted the response just nearly 20 seconds later to restore the two-goal cushion. The Bison were able to end the match with a three-goal lead to go undefeated on the first day. 

On Sunday, the Bison fell to a strong Wagner team 15-3. 

No. 17 Wagner took control early in this match. The Bison only scored one of the first seven goals in the first quarter. The Orange and Blue were left with a 10-1 deficit at half. 

Hodzic added two second-half goals for the Orange and Blue in the third quarter, but the Seahawks kept firm control in the game’s final stages, taking a 15-3 win.  

“Being such a young team, this weekend solidified that we have all the pieces in order to succeed and moving forward we need to keep up the same level of intensity in practices to build on what we did well and fix what we didn’t do so well. We’re super excited to keep pushing forward and see our hard work pay off as the season continues!” Hodzic said. 

The Bison will be back in action next week as they travel to Princeton Invite to take on Iona, Saint Francis (Pa.), Princeton and VMI. The matches will take place from Feb. 11 to Feb. 13. 

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