Men’s Water Polo takes on the West Coast, goes 2-3

Kyle Adams, Senior Writer

Over homecoming weekend, the 14th-ranked men’s water polo team traveled far from its familiar stomping ground, as it spent some time in the sport’s hotbed of California. The younger members of the team propelled the Bison to a respectable showing in their five-game West Coast trip; goalkeeper Charlie Niehaus ’18 recorded over 40 saves and Jeff Hagen ’18 and Marko Djordjevic ’19 each had multi-goal games during the same span.

The Orange and Blue went 2-3 on the weekend, bringing them to 13-8 on the season, with all three losses coming against nationally ranked opponents. The Bison also fell 2-6 against ranked teams this season.

Oct. 24 saw Coach John McBride’s men take on No. 4 Pacific in Stockton, Calif. The Tigers’ offensive versatility had the Bison behind from the get-go, trailing 7-2 after the first quarter and being outscored in the second and third by an identical 4-2 margin. The Bison kept Pacific quiet in the fourth, posting a 2-0 scoring advantage in the final minutes of play, but at this point it was too-little-too-late as the final buzzer sounded to a 15-8 Pacific victory. Multi-goal scorers included Djordjevic with four and Stefan Aleksic ’16 with two. Aleksic also dished out three assists on the day. Niehaus put up his second highest save total on the season with 13 stops.

The Bison moved just South for contests on Oct. 24 and 25, as they participated in the Santa Clara Rodeo, hosted by the Santa Clara University Broncos. The tournament started off well for the Orange and Blue, as they defeated Cal Baptist by a score of 11-3. Niehaus cemented his role in net, notching 13 saves in the impressive defensive showing. The defense posted a season-best 24 steals, with Aleksic nabbing six and Sean Daley ’17 tallying seven of his own. With only a 4-3 lead at half, it took an offensive uptick in the third and fourth quarters, marked by seven consecutive goals, to get the final score to 11-3. Aleksic and Djordjevic had three goals each in the contest.

The second game played on the 24th did not go as well for the Bison, as they were dropped by UC Davis 12-4. Four different men saw one goal apiece. Most notably, Aleksic recorded his 189th career goal, earning him sole possession of the 10th spot in program history in that category. He also ranks eighth all-time on the program’s assists list.

The team came up short in its second consecutive day of contest, opening the second day of competition in Santa Clara with a 12-8 loss at the hands of the host Broncos. Trailing by only one after three quarters of action, a 5-2 scoring disadvantage for the Bison in the fourth did them in. Niehaus again saved double-digit shots on frame with 11, and Tommy Stupp ’18 and Daley each had two goals.

The Bison let out some frustration in their final contest of the weekend with a 20-11 thrashing of Fresno Pacific. Seven different players netted goals for the Bison, most notably Hagen, with his second five-goal game of the season. Aleksic tallied four goals of his own. The defense let up a little for the Blue and Orange in the second half, after they opened the game with a seven goal cushion and a score of 13-6 by the end of the first half. The 20 goals scored tied the season high for the team and kept its undefeated streak against the Sunbirds alive (3-0).

The Orange and Blue will take part in their final Collegiate Water Polo Association (CWPA) game of the season when they travel to Princeton to take on the Tigers on the Oct. 31. They then turn around and host Mercyhurst on Nov. 1.

(Visited 61 times, 1 visits today)