Second-place finish at Southern Championships: Men’s water polo qualifies for CWPA Championships

Jaylen Amaker, Staff Writer

The Southern Championships in Princeton, N.J. opened on Nov. 7 with the Bison claiming an 11-7 win over Washington and Jefferson for the men’s water polo team. The Bison then went on to dominate Monmouth 16-1 and take home a hard-fought win over Navy (14-13) to reach the Southern Championships title game for the fourth time in five years. In the title game, the Bison fell 12-10, as they failed to prevent Princeton’s comeback.

In their win over Washington and Jefferson, the Orange and Blue were led by Grant Curry’s ’18 four goals. Jeff Hagen ’18, Stefan Aleksic ’16, and Nate Hunter ’17 all added two goals each. The Bison took a 6-1 lead going into halftime and cruised to victory.

In their first game on Nov. 8, the Bison crushed Monmouth.This win set up a semifinal matchup with Navy. After a long battle with the Mids, the Bison squeaked by with the victory. This win marked the second consecutive season in which the Bison have beaten Navy twice.

The scoring onslaught by the offense in both games were good enough for the two highest scoring games this season. Against Monmouth, Sean Daley ’17 and Jedd Thayer ’16 scored four goals each, and Aleksic and Brett Cleary ’17 added three goals apiece. In the semifinal matchup, Curry posted a career-high seven goals. Aleksic and Hagen contributed three scores each as well.

In the finals, top-seeded Princeton awaited the Orange and Blue. Entering the game, the Tigers were the only team to beat the Bison in their last nine games. The Bison entered the game hoping to win the title for the second time in three years.

Despite a four-goal lead in the second half, Princeton went on to score seven of the final eight goals in the game to secure the title. Hale scored three goals, while Curry and Ratimir Babic ’17 chipped in with two goals each.

The Bison (15-8) earned an automatic berth to the CWPA Championship on Nov. 21-23, marking the 15th consecutive year the Bison have qualified for the championship. The Bison have a chance to be the conference representative in the NCAA Championship.

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