LEWISBURG, Pa. – The Bucknell women’s water polo team battled Brown until the final buzzer on Sunday morning, scoring a goal with six seconds remaining to come within one, but the fifth-seeded Bears escaped with a 9-8 victory over the sixth-seeded Bison on placement day in the CWPA Championships. Brown, which improved to 20-16 overall with the win, finished the tournament in fifth-place, while Bucknell, which concluded its season with a 13-14 overall record, took the sixth spot.
Senior Julianne Valdes led the Bison in her final game in the orange and blue, scoring two goals and adding an assist. Senior Stephanie Ovalle, senior Mackenzie Ferry, freshman Tegan Stanbach, sophomore Hannah Sunday, sophomore Eleanor Marrs and senior Samantha Deana all tallied one goal for the Bison, while senior Rena Heim was strong in her final game in the cage, making 11 saves.
Brown took the early lead in the contest with a goal four minutes in, but an ejection for the Bears resulted in a Bucknell power play goal just over 30 seconds later. The teams exchanged tallies to knot the score again at 2-2, but Brown capitalized on an extra-player opportunity in the final minute of the quarter to take a 3-2 lead into the second stanza.
The Bears opened the second eight minutes with two more goals, extending their advantage to three, but the Bison answered back with three straight power play tallies, tying the game at 5-5 as the teams headed into halftime.
Brown regained the lead in the third quarter, outscoring Bucknell 2-1, and built the advantage to two with a successful penalty shot to open the fourth, but Valdes tallied her second of the game on the power play, bringing the Bison within one with 2:31 to play. The Bears responded right away with an insurance goal, and while Stanbach connected on a one-timer with six seconds remaining, the Bison were unable to overcome the deficit, falling in the fifth-place game.
BROWN 3 2 2 2 -9
BUCKNELL 2 3 1 2 -8
Goals: Valdes (2), Ovalle, Ferry, Stanbach, Sunday, Marrs, Deana.
Assists: Ovalle, Valdes, Bozorghadad.
Field Blocks: Ovalle, Stanbach.
Ejections Drawn: Sunday (9), Ovalle (2), Valdes (2), Deana.
Saves: Heim (11 svs., 9 ga., 32:00 min.).
Steals: Ovalle, Valdes, Sunday, Marrs, Heim.
Sprints: Ovalle (0-1), Marrs (0-2), Deana (0-1).
Bucknell Record: 13-14.