LEWISBURG, Pa. -- Ratimir Babic, one of four Bucknell players honored during pregame Senior Night ceremonies, tallied two goals and three assists to lead the 13th-ranked Bison to an 11-6 victory over Wagner Saturday night at Kinney Natatorium. Coupled with an 18-13 win over Fordham earlier in the day, Bucknell has now clinched the Mid-Atlantic Water Polo Conference East Region regular-season title.
Sean Daley, another of the seniors, added two goals and two assists, and Tommy Stupp filled the stat sheet with a goal, three assists and four steals to help the Bison improve to 19-4 on the season and deliver coach John McBride his 100th Bucknell men's water polo victory.
The Bison got out to a slow start in this one, with freshman sensation Rade Joksimovic saddled with early foul trouble. Joksimovic, who scored 10 goals in the win over Fordham to give him 117 on the season, drew consecutive fouls with just over four minutes left in the first quarter. He caught a bad break when he was swimming off after his initial exclusion, as an errant Wagner pass led the receiver into his path. That resulted in a second foul and a penalty shot for the Seahawks, but goalie Charlie Niehaus made a great save on Ciaran Wolohan to keep the game tied at 1-1.
Joksimovic would not return until the fourth quarter, and in the meantime the Bison broke open a 4-3 game with a 6-0 run. Marko Djordjevic scored the first of his two goals 42 seconds before halftime to stretch the lead to 5-3, then Bucknell scored the first five goals of the third quarter, all coming from five different players.
Daley started the second-half scoring with a breakway goal after a beautiful lead pass from Stupp. Djordjevic followed with a laser on a restart, then Stupp stole a pass and went coast-to-coast for an 8-3 lead. Center Jeff Hagen outmuscled his man for a goal 37 seconds later, and Babic finished the run at the 1:56 mark.
Niehaus finished with six saves, as Bucknell outshot Wagner 29-26.
Joksimovic did net a first-quarter goal on a penalty shot, giving him 118 goals on the season. That is the sixth-highest total in school history.
McBride is the third Bison men's water polo coach to reach 100 wins. Dick Russell collected a record 223 from 1977-86, and John Zeigler notched 134 in two stints at Bucknell.
The Bison will be the top seed at the Mid-Atlantic Water Polo Conference Championships at Kinney Natatorium Nov. 18-20.
BUCKNELL 3 2 5 1 -11
WAGNER 1 2 1 2 -6
Goals: Djordjevic (2), Daley (2), Babic (2), Hunter, Stupp, Moore, Hagen, Joksimovic.
Assists: Stupp (3), Babic (3), Daley (2).
Ejections Drawn: Hunter (5), Djordjevic (2), Hagen (2), Daley.
Steals: Stupp (4), Djordjevic (2), Moore, Daley, Hagen, Babic.
Saves: Niehaus (6 svs., 6 ga., 32:00 min.)
Sprints: Joksimovic (1-1), Djordjevic (1-1), Daley (1-1), Stupp (0-1).
Bucknell Record: 19-4.