Men’s water polo drops three of four games against top competition on west coast

Anna Carroll, Senior Writer

The Bison men’s water polo team faced four tough teams as they traveled to California for the Julian Fraser Memorial tournament on Oct. 26 and 27. The Orange and Blue dropped three close contests to No. 11 Loyola Marymount, California Baptist, and one in triple overtime to No. 13 San Jose State University. The Bison defeated Fresno Pacific University, earning their only win of the weekend.

In the first game of the weekend, the Bison battled Loyola Marymount. With both teams keeping it close in the opening minutes of the game, the Bison took a 4-3 lead in the first period with a goal from Northern California native Jared Stanley ’21.

Maintaining momentum in the second period, goals from Jack Lewis ’22 and Andu Vlasceanu ’23 provided the Bison a 6-4 edge over Loyola. However, Loyola pulled within one right before the halftime break when they scored three goals bringing the score to 8-7.

The Lions finally tied the game up after the break before Cooper Dolan ’20 gave the Bison a 9-8 lead with his first goal of the day. Two straight goals from Loyola gave them their first lead of the day with just minutes left in the third period. Rade Joksimovic ’20 provided a 13-12 lead with just five minutes remaining in the fourth, but the Lions made a two-goal run to end the game and take the win over the Bison with a close 14-13 final score.

During their second matchup of the day, the Bison and the California Baptist Lancers battled to eight different tie scores during the first three periods of their game for a very close game. With highlights coming in the fourth period, the Lancers went on a three-goal scoring run to give them their biggest lead of the game at 12-9. Stanley stopped the streak with a goal of his own while California Baptist responded once more with another goal bringing the score to 13-10 just seconds after Stanley’s goal.

The Orange and Blue were not going down without a fight and brought the score within one with goals from Dolan and Joksimovic. However, California Baptist found the back of the net once more to ensure their victory, with a final score of 14-12 over the Bison.

On day two of the contest, the Bison came ready to battle against Fresno Pacific University in their first game of the day. Joksimovic gained momentum for the Bison and contributed three of the team’s goals in the first period, once with an assist for Schofield, and twice more with goals of his own. The combined efforts gave the Bison at 3-2 lead after the first period.

Schofield and Joksimovic proved to be a powerful duo during the game, earning the team 10 of its 12 goals, with Stanley and Lewis both also contributing a goal apiece. The Sunbirds fought hard throughout the game and pulled within two in the third period, keeping the Bison on their toes. However, the Bison scored two goals to end the third period and two more in the fourth to ensure their first win of the weekend.

The Orange and Blue’s defense was strong throughout the game, with Mitchell Scott ’22 drawing two ejections and Adrien Touzot ’23 making 15 saves in the cage for the Orange and Blue.

In their final game against No. 13 San Jose State, the Bison showed resilience in this triple-overtime matchup against the Spartans but ultimately fell to an 11-10 defeat, giving a final record of 1-3 on the weekend.

Finding themselves trailing early on with a 5-0 deficit to start the first period, the Bison battled back with goals from Stanley and Joksimovic. Continuing this fight through the third, two more goals along with a tough defense brought the score to 6-4 going into the fourth.

Despite Schofield bringing the Orange and Blue within one to open the fourth, San Jose brought it back to a two-point lead with a goal quickly after. Joksimovic was ultimately able to tie the game with another goal with just 23 seconds left in the fourth to help the game go into overtime.

The Bison were consistent in both overtime periods, trailing to start before battling back at the end of each with late goals. In overtime number one, Stanley found the goal with 40 seconds left to tie the score at eight all and Joksimovic came in clutch with a goal with just three seconds to go in the second overtime to make it 10-10. It came down to sudden death and it was the Spartans who would find the back of the cage just once more to give it an 11-10 victory over the Bison.

“It was a tough weekend and a lot of traveling for us which is a great experience for later on in our season,” Stanley said. “We had a lot of close games and chances to win and hope to learn from these losses in the future in order to be on the other side of things. Overall, we are proud of how we played and excited to be back at home this weekend”.

The Bison will be back at home this upcoming weekend to take on La Salle and Johns Hopkins on Nov. 2 and 3.

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