PRINCETON, N.J. – No. 10 Harvard edged the No. 16 Bucknell men's water polo team, 10-9, on an Austin Sehcrest goal scored in the final minute of regulation Sunday morning at the Princeton Invitational.
The Bison had a chance to net the equalizer in the final 30 seconds after Rade Joksimovic and Marko Djordjevic drew back-to-back exclusions. But the Crimson (5-2) managed to block Joksimovic's last shot to defeat Bucknell by a single goal for the second-straight game.
In the first quarter, Harvard raced out to a 3-0 lead, but Bucknell scored three of the next four goals to cut its deficit to one. Jeff Hagen quickly evened the score in the second quarter; from that point on the teams traded goals, neither being able to build more than a single strike of separation.
The Bison and Crimson entered the final quarter locked in an 8-8 tie. After Dennis Blyashov gave Harvard the edge with 4:01 on the clock, Borna Bolanca netted the equalizer less than two minutes later after taking a long feed from Charlie Niehaus.
Sehcrest's game-winning goal was his game-best fourth of the contest. He was one of only two Crimson players who had a multi-point effort, joining Nick Bunn (2g).
Joksimovic (3g-2a), Djordjevic (2g-1a), Bolanca (1g-2a) and Logan Schofield (2g) all had multi-point efforts for the Bison. Joksimovic also led Bucknell with four exclusions drawn and four steals while Niehaus made 15 saves in net.
Harvard led in shots (33-22), but Bucknell had six more power play opportunities in the contest. The Bison went 2 for 11 on their power play chances while the Crimson went 0 for 5.
Bucknell (1-6) has now faced seven ranked teams in a row to start its season, including four in the top 10: No. 4 UCLA, No. 5 Pacific, No. 7 Pepperdine and No. 10 Harvard.
In their last meeting in the 2016 NCAA play-in game, Harvard pulled out a 13-12 victory in overtime. Joksimovic scored the game-tying goal with 16 seconds remaining in regulation to help the Bison erase a four-goal deficit in the final quarter, but Harry Tafur scored the game-winning goal just under two minutes into the sudden victory overtime period to lift the Crimson to victory.
The Bison next host the Bison Invitational. During that event, they will play La Salle (Sept. 16, 11:45 a.m.), Mercyhurst (Sept. 16, 4:45 p.m.) and Salem International (Sept. 17, 1 p.m.). They will also welcome alumni back to campus as part of their 40th anniversary celebration.