Men’s water polo secures second seed in Southern Championships

Eve Wulf , Staff Writer

 

The men’s water polo team competed on Oct. 31 at Princeton against the Tigers in the final league game of the season and hosted Mercyhurst on Nov. 1 in the final game of the regular season. Though they fell to Princeton, the Orange and Blue redeemed themselves by triumphing against Mercyhurst. Overall, the Bison claimed the second seed in the upcoming Southern Championships.

Ranked No. 14, the Bison struggled against No 10. Princeton, losing to the Tigers 7-9. Despite an excellent first period with a notable performance by Sean Daley ’17, the Bison could not maintain their momentum for the remainder of play. In the first period, Daley scored three goals and had two assists, giving the Bison a 3-2 lead entering the second period. Princeton proved relentless as they garnered a 6-4 lead going into halftime and eventually won 9-7. Borna Bolanca ’19, RJ Moore ’17, Jeff Hagen ’18, and Tommy Stupp ’18 had a goal apiece. Moore added two assists and Ratimir Babic ’17 added one. In goal, Charlie Niehaus ’18 recorded nine saves for the Bison. The loss to Princeton gave the Bison a 4-4 record in the CWPA.

Bouncing back from the loss, the Orange and Blue prevailed over Mercyhurst by beating the Lakers 16-6. The team attacked quickly by scoring six goals in the first period, three of which came within just 3:07 of competition. By halftime, the Bison led 10-3, which prompted head coach John McBride to allow the team’s reserves to see action in the game. Daley had another incredible showing, equaling his career high of eight points and his career high for assists by scoring 3 goals and handing out 5 assists. One assist shy of his career high, Daley now holds a team-high 43 assists for the season. Nate Hunter ’17 also joined Daley in matching for team-high honors by scoring three goals. Marko Djordjevic ’19, Hagen, and Babic scored two goals apiece and Bolanca, Moore, Johnathan Coleman ’19, and Danny Farmer ’19 each added one goal to the Bison cause. Niehaus had 8 saves in the victory. The win improved the team’s home record to 9-1, giving the Orange and Blue an overall record of 14-9 for the regular season.

Despite the loss to Princeton, the Bison were still able to clinch the No. 2 seed for the Southern Championships, which they will host in Lewisburg on Nov. 6-8 for the first time since 2012.

Utility standout Daley is confident that these last two games will serve the Orange and Blue well as they prepare to win a Southern Championship at home.

“We did a lot of good things in Saturday’s game against Princeton, which showed us that we can win when it matters next weekend. We need to work on a few things this week in practice in order to be ready for the upcoming weekend. Sunday was a good warm-up for the championships, and we played well together as a team,” Daley said.

The Orange and Blue will face No. 7 Washington & Jefferson on Nov. 6 at 6:10 p.m. in the first round of the Southern Championships.

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