LEWISBURG, Pa. – The No. 15 Bucknell men’s water polo team opened its home schedule in impressive fashion Friday evening against Salem International. The Bison scored nine of the game’s first 10 goals and later scored 13 consecutive goals on their way to a 24-8 victory over Salem International at Kinney Natatorium. It was the first game of the weekend-long Bison Invitational.
Freshman Rade Joksimovic was impressive in the first home appearance of his career as he scored eight goals, dished out six assists, totaled eight steals and drew three ejections. He was one of five Bison players to post multi-goal outings. Joksimovic is the first Bison to score eight goals in a game since Brian Barron totaled eight in 2012. He is the only Bucknell player since 2001 to post double-figures in points in a game.
Bucknell’s 24 goals marked its most since defeating Notre Dame (Ohio) 24-9 in the 2012 season opener, while the 16-goal margin of victory was the largest for the Bison since downing George Washington 21-3 in 2010.
Bucknell (3-1) is off to its best four-game start to a season since opening the 2013 campaign with a 4-0 mark.
Ratimir Babic helped carry the offensive load in the first half for the Bison, scoring all four of his goals before intermission. Sean Daley and Logan Schofield registered three goals apiece, while Marko Djordjevic had two goals and a pair of assists.
The Bison led 5-1 at the end of the first quarter and extended that lead to 9-1 before Salem International (1-6) went on a bit of a run. The Tigers tallied five goals in the second quarter and trailed just 11-7 early in the third quarter. Bucknell responded with 13 straight goals over the next 14 minutes, 39 seconds to take control.
The physical Bison used their depth as an advantage, wearing down Salem International as the game moved along. Fourteen Bucknell players appeared in the game, while the Tigers had just four subs on their bench.
The Bison defense was strong throughout, registering a season-high 25 steals. Joksimovic (8) and Djordjevic (3) combined for nearly half that number. Charlie Niehaus totaled 10 saves in goal.
Salem International was led by three goals apiece by Djordje Stavrevski and Milos Popovic.
The Bison Invitational will continue Saturday and Sunday at Kinney Natatorium. Bucknell will face Washington & Jefferson (1:15 p.m.) and Mercyhurst (8:45 p.m.) on Saturday and then wrap up the weekend Sunday at 9:15 a.m. against No. 14 Brown.
SALEM INTERNATIONAL 1 5 1 1 -8
BUCKNELL 5 6 9 4 -24
Goals: Joksimovic (8), Babic (4), Daley (3), Schofield (3), Djordjevic (2), Stupp, Dolan, Hagen, Coleman.
Assists: Joksimovic (6), Stupp (3), Dolan (2), Djordjevic (2), Daley (2), Niehaus (2), Farmer.
Ejections Drawn: Joksimovic (3), Schofield (3), Hunter (2), Dolan, Djordjevic.
Steals: Joksimovic (8), Djordjevic (3), Dolan (2), Daley (2), Babic (2), Coleman (2), Farmer (2), Hunter, Stupp, Hagen, Schofield.
Saves: Niehaus (10 svs., 8 ga., 32:00 min.).
Sprints: Stupp (1-1), Babic (0-1), Farmer (0-1), Joksimovic (0-1).
Bucknell Record: 3-1.