LEWISBURG, Pa. – Cooper Dolan completed a hat trick with 18 seconds remaining in the first overtime period to lift the No. 16 Bucknell men's water polo team to a 9-8 victory over No. 19 Fordham Sunday afternoon at Kinney Natatorium in a battle between two squads that entered the match unbeaten in MAWPC play.
Charlie Niehaus sealed the win for the Bison (8-6, 4-0 MAWPC) by denying Magnus Sims from point-blank range with less than 30 seconds on the clock in the second overtime period. It was the senior's 12th save of the match.
Jeff Hagen sent Bucknell into overtime for the first time in 2017 by netting the equalizer with just eight seconds left in regulation. After drawing an ejection with 15 seconds to play, the senior took a centering pass from Jared Stanley and fought off a defender to find the back of the cage.
The Rams (7-4, 3-1 MAWPC) pulled ahead with 33 seconds remaining in regulation on Ian Watson's second strike of the game, a floater that squeaked under the crossbar.
With the teams deadlocked at seven apiece, the final five minutes of regulation were filled with momentum swings and opportunities for both teams. Niehaus made one of his biggest saves of the match with 4:20 to play, denying Massimiliano Mirarchi on a breakaway. After Marko Djordjevic hit the crossbar at the 1:48 mark, Alex Jahns turned aside a Rade Joksimovic bullet with 45 seconds left to play to set up Watson's go-ahead goal.
The teams traded goals throughout the game, each netting two a quarter. Bucknell's largest lead of the game, a 4-2 edge, came at the 4:12 mark of the second quarter after a Stanley strike. The Rams responded with goals at the 2:14 and 1:41 marks to send the teams into the half tied up at four apiece.
Fordham took its first lead of the game, a 6-5 advantage, with 26 seconds remaining in the third quarter. Matt Blackwell tied the game at six, taking a pass from Djordjevic and ripping a shot past Jahns with seven seconds left in that frame.
Mirarchi led all players with four goals, scoring one a quarter. Dolan, who also notched an assist, was the lone Bison to enjoy a multi-goal outing.
Joksimovic (3a), Djordjevic (1g-1a), Stanley (1g-1a) and Tommy Stupp (1g-1a) had multi-point outings for Bucknell. Hagen drew a team-best four ejections while Joksimovic led the Bison with three steals.
Bucknell has now won 11 in a row at Kinney Natatorium. The Bison, who are 26-4 in their home pool since the beginning of the 2015 campaign, continue MAWPC play at Kinney Natatorium next weekend, facing Wagner (11 a.m.) and George Washington (5 p.m.) on Saturday, Oct. 7.
FORDHAM 2 2 2 2 0 -8
BUCKNELL 2 2 2 2 1 -9
Goals: Dolan (3), Blackwell, Djordjevic, Hagen, Schofield, Stanley, Stupp
Assists: Joksimovic (3), Djordjevic, Dolan, Jacuzzi, Stanley, Stupp
Ejections Drawn: Hagen (4), Dolan, Schofield, Stupp
Steals: Joksimovic (3), Djordjevic (2), Hagen (2), Stanley (2), Schofield, Stupp
Saves: Niehaus (12 svs., 8 ga., 32:00 min.)
Sprints: Joksimovic (2-3), Stupp (2-3)