Men’s water polo splits 2-2 at Harvard Invitational

Anna Carroll, Senior Writer

The Bison men’s water polo team tacked two wins and two losses onto their now 14-4 record this past weekend at Harvard University. The Orange and Blue suffered their two losses to No. 20 St. Francis (Brooklyn) and No. 9 Harvard, while edging out Wagner and MIT for their two wins on the weekend.

The Bison faced Wagner to open their play on Oct. 19. Andu Vlasceanu ’23 kicked off the competition as he drew an exclusion in the opening seconds of the game and set up Rade Joksimovic ’20 for the Orange and Blue’s first goal of the game. Vlasceanu kept things moving by drawing another ejection just minutes later in the first period and capitalizing on the ensuing power play to double the Bison’s lead to 2-0. The first-year drew four ejections on the day – a career-best.

Wagner kept the scores tight by answering with two goals of their own before Joksimovic found the back of the cage again for the Bison. After Wagner tied the score once more, Cooper Dolan ’20 assisted on Vlasceanu’s third goal of the game to restore the lead. Vlasceanu kept his hot streak going with one more goal before going into halftime with a 5-3 lead over Wagner.

Logan Schofield ’20 and Joksimovic teamed up in getting the Bison’s final goals of the game and finalized their 10-8 win. Adrien Touzot ’23 helped the Bison in the goal with 16 saves after receiving the Mid-Atlantic Water Polo Conference (MAWPC) Rookie of the Week honors.

During the second game of the day, the Bison had a three-goal lead over St. Francis going into the fourth quarter, but five straight goals from the Terriers resulted in a 16-14 victory for St. Francis over the Bison.

Joksimovic, Cullen Jacuzzi ’20, and Jack Lewis ’22 found the back of the cage early for the Orange and Blue, giving them a 4-2 lead early in the game. The Bison kept it going in the second period with four straight goals in order to extend their lead to 8-3 going into the half.

Jared Stanley ’21 opened up the second half for the Bison with another goal, giving the team its largest lead of the day at 10-4. After St. Francis found some momentum during the third, Jacuzzi scored once more to keep the Orange and Blue’s five-goal lead at 13-8. However, St. Francis did not give up and started its comeback soon after, scoring two goals at the end of the third, and bringing the score within three.

The Terriers gained unstoppable momentum in the fourth period, scoring five unanswered goals to finish the game with a 16-14 win over the herd. This snapped the Bison’s seven-game win streak.

The Bison kept their 1-1 record consistent during day two of the tournament with a win against MIT and a loss to host team Harvard. The Orange and Blue used eight different goalscorers to start the day off with a 13-9 win over MIT in its third game of the weekend.

Bucknell wasted no time at the start of the game, with a penalty shot by Joksimovic giving Bucknell a 1-0 lead early in the first period. Dolan tacked on another goal for the Orange and Blue to double the lead to 2-0, not long before Vlasceanu would make it 3-0 for the Bison in the first quarter.

It was not until the second period that MIT would make their way on the scoreboard and cut the Bison lead to 4-2. Two goals from Joksimovic, a goal from Schofield, and another by Stanley would help the visitors take an 8-3 lead at halftime.

The Bison’s defense was resilient in the third period, rejecting all shots attempted by MIT. Scott Little ’21, Will Gildea ’23 and Colby Paine ’23 all stepped up with goals of their own for the Bison’s offense during the second half. The Orange and Blue finished their first game of day two with a 13-9 victory over the Engineers, who they had beat 15-9 during their season opener on Sept. 7.

After a morning victory, the Bison suffered a close loss to top-10 ranked Harvard. Although Harvard suffered an early deficit, the Crimson used a seven-goal second half to return and defeat the Orange and Blue.

Things looked good for the Bison early on in the game, as the Orange and Blue were able to shutout Harvard in the first period and scored three goals of their own courtesy of Jacuzzi, Schofield, and Joksimovic.

Harvard put in its first goal of the contest during the second period. Lewis responded just minutes later, bringing the score to 4-2 going into the second half.

It was in the second half of the game that Harvard found momentum and scored three goals in order to take a 5-4 lead in the third period. Dolan scored on an assist from Vlasceanu in order to tie things up at five. Things remained neck and neck heading into the final period with the score tied at six.

Harvard took an 8-6 lead with two consecutive goals during the final period before Dolan found the back of the cage for the Bison. After another goal for each team, the Orange and Blue had promising opportunities to tie things up in the final moments of the game. The goalkeeper for Harvard blocked shots by Stanley and Vlasceanu, resulting in a narrow 9-8 loss for the Bison.

“We played four tough games this weekend and did not see the results we wanted. We will use the losses as learning experiences and motivation to drive us to be even better in the second half of the season. The best is yet to come,” Jacuzzi said.

The Bison will travel to California this weekend for four games on Oct. 26 and 27.

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