The Bison men’s water polo team opened its season this past weekend with a .500 performance at the Bruno Classic, hosted by Brown University. The Bison had a promising start to the weekend, with a 2-1 record on the first day of competition including wins over Harvard and St. Francis Brooklyn. After a loss to Claremont-Mudd-Scripps, the Bison were drubbed by national powerhouse Stanford and fell to 2-2 overall.
The first day of competition was led offensively by Stefan Aleksic ’16, Jeff Hagen ’18, and Tommy Stupp ’18, who each posted five total goals in three contests. Charlie Niehaus ’18 started all three games at goalkeeper, allowing 23 goals and saving 16 shots. He was replaced in the second quarter of the game against Claremont-Mudd-Scripps of California by Patrick McKenzie ’17 who put up seven saves while allowing only six goals.
The 19th ranked Bison began the weekend with a thrilling 10-8 win over the Crimson of Harvard University. With the score knotted at eight after three quarters of play, the Bison defense stepped up and shut the door in the fourth quarter and netted two goals of their own, courtesy of Sean Daley ’17 and RJ Moore ’17.
Perhaps the headlining win of the weekend for the Bison came in their game against No. 17 St. Francis Brooklyn. The Bison had not earned a win over a nationally ranked opponent since October of last season, when they took down No. 12 UC Davis. Hagen proved himself in a big way during this game, as he put in three goals, including the first of three fourth quarter goals that were met with no response from the Terriers. Although two goals were allowed at the end, the Orange and Blue were able to hold off a late charge, and cemented an impressive 8-7 win.
The Bison trailed the entire way against West coast foe Claremont-Mudd-Scripps, losing 14-9 in the end. Both Stupp and Moore had multi-goal games, putting in two shots each. Although they outscored the Stags 6-4 in the second half, the Orange and Blue could not overcome a seven goal halftime deficit to pull out a win in a game where they were favored to emerge from victoriously.
Sept. 6 was fairly disappointing for the men, as they dropped their fourth game of the weekend in Providence to the No. 4 Stanford Cardinals by a score of 20-4. Scorers included Nate Hunter ’17, Hagen, Marko Djordjevic ’19, and Ratimir Babic ’17. It seemed that no one could stop the Cardinal offense this weekend, as it tallied 90 goals in four games over the weekend. Niehaus recorded eight saves on the day and the Bison defense collectively had 13 steals.
The Orange and Blue will open their home schedule on Sept. 11-13 in the Bison Invitational.