WASHINGTON, D.C./BALTIMORE, Md. – The No. 13-ranked Bucknell men’s water polo team kept its hot spell going with two more wins on Sunday as the Bison extended their winning streak to seven games. Bucknell opened the day with a 16-11 win at No. 16 George Washington and followed a few hours later with a 12-11 victory at Johns Hopkins.
Bucknell is now 9-1 on the year. The last time the Bison started 9-1 was 2007. They last had a better start in 1984 when the team opened the year 10-1. Three of Bucknell’s wins have come against ranked opponents, including Sunday’s against George Washington (5-4, 2-1 MAWPC).
There were a number of different contributors in Sunday’s two victories. Ratimir Babic (5) and Jeff Hagen (4) combined for nine of Bucknell’s 16 goals against the Colonials, while Sean Daley and Rade Joksimovic totaled five points apiece. Joksimovic (6) and Daley (2) led the way on the offensive end in the nightcap. Daley also dished out two assists in the contest, giving him a nine-point day to go along with his 10 steals.
Charlie Niehaus was strong in goal in both ends of the doubleheader, totaling 32 saves, including a career-high 18 in the one-goal win over Johns Hopkins (2-8, 2-1 MAWPC).
Against George Washington, Bucknell overcame an early 2-0 deficit and led by a slim 9-8 margin at halftime, but outscored the Colonials 7-3 after intermission. The final five-goal margin of victory was the largest in the game for either team. Hagen posted all four of his goals in the second half for the Bison.
Bucknell jumped out to a 6-1 lead against Johns Hopkins, but the Blue Jays battled back to tie the score at 9-9 with 5:29 left in the fourth quarter after trailing 9-4 at one point. Joksimovic answered with three goals in the final minutes for the Bison, including what proved to be the game-winner with just over 30 seconds that put Bucknell up 12-10.
Joksimovic, who posted a career-high nine goals in a win at Navy on Saturday, totaled 17 goals in three games over the weekend, bringing his season figure to 50 goals in 10 games.
Bucknell will continue its five-game conference road trip next weekend when it plays at Wagner (12 p.m.) and Fordham (7 p.m.) on Saturday, Oct. 1. The Bison return to Kinney Natatorium Oct. 8 for games against George Washington and Navy.
BUCKNELL 5 4 4 3 -16
GEO. WASH. 4 4 2 1 -11
Goals: Babic (5), Hagen (4), Hunter (3), Joksimovic (2), Dolan, Daley.
Assists: Daley (4), Djordjevic (3), Joksimovic (3), Hagen (2), Niehaus, Babic.
Ejections Drawn: Hunter (4), Hagen (2), Djordjevic.
Steals: Daley (6), Joksimovic (4), Moore (3), Babic (2), Djordjevic, Niehaus.
Saves: Niehaus (14 svs., 11 ga., 32:00 min.).
Sprints: Daley (0-2), Djordjevic (0-1), Joksimovic (0-1).
Bucknell Record: 8-1, 2-0 MAWPC.
BUCKNELL 5 2 2 3 -12
JOHNS HOPKINS 1 2 5 3 -11
Goals: Joksimovic (6), Daley (2), Hunter, Dolan, Hagen, Babic.
Assists: Daley (2), Hagen (2), Joksimovic, Niehaus.
Ejections Drawn: Hagen (5), Joksimovic (2), Hunter, Moore, Daley, Babic.
Steals: Daley (4), Dolan (2), Djordjevic (2), Moore, Hagen, Joksimovic.
Saves: Niehaus (18 svs., 11 ga., 32:00 min.).
Sprints: Joksimovic (2-2), Babic (0-1), Djordjevic (0-1).
Bucknell Record: 9-1, 3-0 MAWPC.