BRONX, N.Y. – The No. 18 Bucknell men's water polo team finished 10-0 in MAWPC East Region play with its 8-6 victory over Fordham on Sunday at Col. Francis B. Messmore Aquatic Center.
The Bison, who clinched their second-straight MAWPC East Region regular-season title with the Rams' overtime loss to Wagner on Wednesday, completed their perfect conference season behind a five-goal outing by Rade Joksimovic.
Bucknell (17-11, 10-0 MAWPC) and Fordham (16-10, 6-4 MAWPC) were locked in a 3-3 tie at halftime. After the Rams went up by one behind a Massimiliano Mirarchi strike, Joksimovic and Jared Stanley found the back of the cage in less than a minute to give the Bison a 5-4 edge.
Phillip Wang evened the score with 3:28 remaining in the third quarter, but Joksimovic took a feed from Stanley and beat Alex Jahns to give Bucknell a 6-5 advantage going into the final frame.
Jake Miller-Tolt made it a 6-6 game at the 5:54 mark of the fourth quarter. But Bucknell responded, with Jeff Hagen drawing an ejection and then scoring on the man advantage just 38 seconds later. Marko Djordjevic gave the Bison a two-goal cushion with 4:34 left to play, and the defense held fast the rest of the way, only allowing the Rams to send one shot on net.
Djordjevic (1g-2a) and Stanley (1g-1a) also had multi-point outings for Bucknell. Hagen drew three exclusions while Joksimovic and Tommy Stupp each posted six steals.
In net, Charlie Niehaus finished with nine saves. With that performance, which gave him 822 career saves, he moved into third in Bucknell's history in that statistical category.
Fordham was led offensively by Wang, who finished with a hat trick. Like Niehaus, Jahns made nine saves.
The Bison won the 2016 MAWPC East Region regular-season title with a 9-1 conference record. They went on to win the MAWPC tournament title, securing their first NCAA tournament berth since 1985.
As the top seed, Bucknell will open the MAWPC tournament on Friday, Nov. 17 in Annapolis, Md. against eighth-seeded Mercyhurst.
BUCKNELL 2 1 3 2 - 8
FORDHAM 1 2 2 1 - 6
Goals: Joksimovic (5), Djordjevic, Hagen, Stanley
Assists: Djordjevic (2), Dolan, Stanley, Stupp
Ejections Drawn: Hagen (3), Djordjevic, Stupp
Steals: Joksimovic (6), Stupp (6), Dolan, Hagen
Saves: Niehaus (9 svs., 6 ga., 32:00 min.)
Sprints: Jacuzzi (0-1), Stanley (0-1), Stupp (2-2)