LEWISBURG, Pa. – After being forced to wait an extra day to open its season thanks to Friday’s game with UC San Diego being cancelled, the Bucknell women’s water polo team split its two games Saturday on the opening day of the 2014 campaign. The Bison opened play at their own Invitational with a 10-7 comeback win over Villanova and then a few hours later dropped a 13-6 decision against No. 20 Hartwick.

Bucknell (1-1) held a slim 4-3 halftime lead on the Wildcats (0-5) in the opener, but entered the fourth quarter trailing 6-5. That quickly changed as Eleanor Marrs scored the first of five consecutive goals for the Bison to break the game open and clinch a 1-0 start to the season. Marrs’ score came just 49 seconds into the fourth quarter, and before 2:30 had elapsed in the period Bucknell led 9-6. Stephanie Ovalle added the 10th goal of the game for the Bison with 1:50 to play, essentially clinching the outcome.

It was a back-and-forth affair that featured four ties and three lead changes.

Julianne Valdes led the Bison with three goals, all of which came in the first half. Taylor Barnett and Marrs chipped in two apiece as Bucknell won its season opener for the second straight year.

The Bucknell defense was strong as it recorded 11 steals and goalie Rena Heim equaled her career high with 13 saves.

The Bison were not able to overcome an early deficit in the nightcap as Hartwick (6-5) jumped out to a 6-0 lead before Marrs finally put Bucknell on the board midway through the second quarter. The Bison trailed 9-3 at halftime and could not draw closer than that six-goal margin in the second half.

Tegan Stanbach, Barnett, Sayeh Bozorghadad, Barbara Peterson, Eleanor Marrs and Samantha Deana registered one goal apiece for Bucknell, which was hampered by 16 turnovers.

Four of the Bison’s six goals against Hartwick came during six-on-five situations. In fact, seven of the squad’s 16 goals on the day came in man-up situations or on penalty shots.

Bucknell will conclude competition at the Bison Invitational Sunday. The Bison will host No. 8 Princeton at 10:30 a.m. and then face Marist at 3:30 p.m. Both games will air live on Bison Vision on the Patriot League Network.

Game 1
VILLANOVA              2          1          3          1          -7        
BUCKNELL               1          3          1          5          -10

Goals: Valdes (3), Barnett (2), Marrs (2), Ovalle, Ferry, Stanbach.
Assists: Ferry (3), Stanbach, Sunday, Marrs.
Field Blocks: None.
Ejections Drawn: Sunday (3), Marrs.
Saves: Heim (13 svs., 7 ga., 32:00 min.).
Steals: Valdes (2), Barnett (2), Marrs (2), Ovalle, Ferry, Stanbach, Peterson, Heim.
Sprints: Marrs (2-2), Ovalle (0-1), Valdes (0-1).
Bucknell Record: 1-0.

Game 2
HARTWICK               3          6          2          2          -13      
BUCKNELL               0          3          0          3          -6

Stanbach, Barnett, Bozorghadad, Peterson, Marrs, Deana.
Assists: Ferry, Bozorghadad, Marrs, Deana.
Field Blocks: Marrs.
Ejections Drawn: Sunday (4), Ovalle, Valdes, Ferry, Marrs.
Saves: Heim (7 svs., 13 ga., 32:00 min.).
Steals: Marrs (3), Stanbach (2), Ovalle, Heim.
Sprints: Marrs (1-2), Ovalle (0-2).
Bucknell Record: 1-1.