Water Polo concludes their home invitational 3-1


Lauren Medeiros / The Bucknellian

Lauren Medeiros, Contributing Writer

Over the weekend, the Bucknell men’s water polo team hosted a home invitational at Kinney Natatorium.

The Bison faced off against Johns Hopkins, Fordham, McKendree and Wagner, finishing off the invitational with a record of three wins and one loss. 

On Saturday, the first matchup was Bucknell versus Johns Hopkins. The Bison came out with a strong start to the invitational, dominating the Blue Jays for a 15-7 victory. 

Around the seven minute mark of the first quarter, Hasan Mogultay ’25 scored the first point of the match, but within seconds the Blue Jays responded. The Bison didn’t let this tied score bog them down; instead, they picked up the momentum and dominated the rest of the quarter.

Andu Vlasceanu ’24, Aleksa Stefanovic ’26 and Jack Lewis ’23 went on to score three unanswered goals before the first quarter ended, gaining a 4-1 lead. 

The scoring continued for the Bison in the next three quarters, pushing Bucknell to a 5-3 lead in the second quarter, a 9-4 lead at the 6:04 mark of the third quarter and three straight goals in the opening of the fourth quarter to clinch the win. Throughout this game, eight different players contributed goals, with Vlasceanu leading with five.

Unfortunately for the Orange and Blue, the second game on Saturday against Fordham didn’t go their way. Both teams came ready for a battle, keeping the game close in score. 

The Bison came out firing in the first quarter with goals from Shay Gillearn ’25, Vlasceanu, and Stefanovic, putting the Bison at a 3-0 lead. However, the momentum changed in the second half of the first quarter, when Fordham struck back with three goals of their own. Most of the match, the score was a one point difference, and heading into halftime the teams were tied. 

Eventually, going into the fourth quarter, both teams were tied until the Rams found the back of the cage three times in a row, taking a 9-6 lead. The Bison managed to add one more point before the game ended, but still endured a 10-7 loss. 

On Sunday, the Bison concluded the invitational with a clean sweep, defeating both McKendree and Wagner with scores of 8-7 and 11-9. 

Battling out their third game of the weekend, the Bison came back from behind to beat McKendree. After the first quarter of the game, the score was tied 2-2 with goals from Stefanovic and Doruk Ozar ’24. However, the second quarter was dry for the Bison as they fell behind to a 4-2 deficit. 

One minute into the third quarter, Vlasceanu scored two much needed points for the Bison, only 30 seconds apart. After the 2:48 mark of the third quarter, the Bison held the lead for the rest of the match with big points scored by Gillearn, Ethan Jones ’25 and Vlasceanu. Throughout the entire invitational, Vlasceanu has been a key player, contributing many tallies to the scoreboard.

Entering the final game of the invitational against Wagner, the Bison held a record of 2-1, and came into the match-up determined to win. The Bison successfully overpowered Wagner to clinch their third win with a score of 11-9. 

Bucknell started the game strong with a 4-2 lead after the first quarter, and later extended that lead to 6-2 in the second quarter. Within the first half of the game, Stefanovic scored three crucial penalty shots. However, late in the second quarter, the Seahawks began to close the gap, only down 7-5. 

Most of the third quarter was a defensive battle, but the Bison pushed through and took a small lead of 8-7 heading into the fourth quarter. Closing the game strong, Gillearn, Stefanovic and Mogultay buried three unanswered goals. 

Two players that heavily impacted this game were goalkeeper Adrien Touzot ’23 and Stefanovic. Touzot made several huge saves in the final minutes to keep the lead, while Stefanovic scored a career-best of five goals in one game. 

In training for this invitational, the Bison team practiced everyday and had special meetings with coaches to nail down their tactics. 

“Before every game, the coach holds a meeting where he tells us the characteristics of the opponents and explains what we need to play. As a team, we try to enter the game with maximum concentration and determination,” Stefanovic said.

Overall, the men’s water polo team dominated their invitational this weekend, adding points to their season record. As of now, the Bison have a total of five wins and six losses. Coming back from their 1-2 record at the Princeton Invite last weekend, the Bison tweaked their tactics.

“This weekend we were much more disciplined in defense and patient in attack,” Stefanovic said. “I deem that from weekend to weekend the team is improving, and this tournament shows that we are going in the right direction. I think the team’s self-confidence is important to win and the 3-1 record gives us the support we need for further progress in the season.” 

Next weekend the Bison will be traveling to Erie, Pennsylvania, to compete against Salem, McKendree, Mercyhurst and Gannon.

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