SANTA CLARA, Calif. – The No. 18 Bucknell men’s water polo team opened play at the Santa Clara Rodeo on Saturday and split a pair of contests against California opponents. The Bison opened with a 16-6 victory over Fresno Pacific behind six goals from Jack Else. Just a couple hours later they faced No. 11 UC Davis and lost by a tight 8-7 score.

Bucknell (11-6) opened its California trip Friday at No. 3 Pacific. The Bison bounced back from that loss with the 10-goal victory over the Sunbirds on Saturday. Bucknell held an 11-3 edge at halftime and was up 15-5 after three quarters. Else led the way with a season-high six goals, while Alex Nowlin chipped in three and Stefan Aleksic added two goals and a pair of assists.

Else drew three of 11 ejections for Bucknell. Mike Kimble had a team-high four ejections drawn, while Sean Daley had three. The Bison finished with four six-on-five goals in the contest.

Starting goalie Keegan Williams split halves with freshman Patrick McKenzie, who was making his first appearance since Sept. 14 vs. Salem International. Williams totaled five saves, while McKenzie posted four.

In the nightcap against the nationally ranked Aggies, Bucknell overcame a 6-2 halftime deficit and a 7-3 third-quarter gap to lose by just one goal. The third goal of the game, and ninth of the day, by Else with 1:07 to play brought Bucknell to within 8-7, but the Bison were unable to even the score in the closing seconds.

Bucknell’s defense limited UC Davis to just one goal over the final 11:08 of the contest.

Nowlin had two goals, Julian Colina one and Kimble one to round out the scoring for the Bison.

Bucknell will wrap up play at the Santa Clara Rodeo Sunday with games against No. 10 Concordia (4:20 p.m. Eastern) and host and No. 16 Santa Clara (8:20 p.m. Eastern).

Game 1
BUCKNELL               6          5          4          1          -16      
FRESNO PACIFIC    2          1          2          1          -6

Game 2
BUCKNELL               1          1          3          2          -7        
UC DAVIS                  2          4          1          1          -8