ANNAPOLIS, Md. – The No. 16 Bucknell men's water polo team closed the MAWPC tournament with a 10-9 victory over third-seeded Fordham on Sunday afternoon at Lejeune Hall and Scott Natatorium.
Rade Joksimovic (3) and Tommy Stupp (2) had multi-goal outings for the Bison (19-12, 10-0 MAWPC), who withstood a late surge by the Rams (18-12, 6-4 MAWPC) to win the MAWPC tournament's third-place game.
The teams combined for four goals in the final two minutes of regulation. After Fordham drew within two, at 9-7, with 1:56 on the clock, Stupp netted what proved to be the game-winning goal at the 1:14 mark. The Rams then scored two unanswered goals in the final minute, with Massimiliano Mirarchi drawing them within a single strike with 21 seconds left to play. But the Bison held fast for those final 21 seconds to secure their victory.
Matt Blackwell, Cooper Dolan, Cullen Jacuzzi, Jeff Hagen and Logan Schofield also found the back of the cage for Bucknell. In net, Charlie Niehaus made six saves. He wrapped up his career with 850, the second-highest total in program history.
Joksimovic, who was tabbed as the MAWPC East MVP, finished 2017 with 106 goals. The sophomore, who netted 154 during his rookie campaign, became the third Bison to score at least 100 goals in more than one season during Bucknell's semifinal loss to fourth-seeded Wagner. The previous two, Scott Schulte (184 in 1980, 154 in 1977, 127 in 1978, 121 in 1979) and Jeff Hilk (108 in 1983, 104 in 1985), are members of the Bucknell Athletics Hall of Fame and the CWPA Hall of Fame.
The Bison, who won the MAWPC East regular-season title with a perfect record, reached the 15-win plateau for the fourth-straight season. They won all eight of their contests at Kinney Natatorium and will ride a 15-game home winning streak into the 2018 campaign. They also strung together the sixth-longest winning streak in program history, an 11-game streak, from Sept. 16 to Oct. 14.
For their individual efforts during the season, Joksimovic and Niehaus were voted to the all-MAWPC East First Team while Dolan and Hagen were selected to the Second Team.