Late Goals by Hale and Kimble Help Bucknell Men's Water Polo to 10-8 Win Over Harvard
Sept. 30, 2012
LEWISBURG, Pa. -Bucknell goalie Matt Napleton came three saves shy of equaling the school record and became the first Bison since 2001 with at least 20 saves in a game and every one of his 21 stops was needed Sunday afternoon in a close win against Harvard. The Bison defeated the Crimson by a slim 10-8 margin thanks to two late goals by Nick Hale and Mike Kimble that broke an 8-8 fourth-quarter deadlock.
Bucknell (6-8) led by as many as four goals on two occasions in the first half, but Harvard scored the first three goals in the third quarter to turn a four-goal halftime deficit to a slim one-goal lead for the Bison. A goal by Harvard's Ben Zepfel, his team-high fourth of the game, with 5:45 left in regulation tied the score at 8-8. It was the first tie of the game.
Bucknell then got back in the scoring column when Hale, who finished with two goals in the contest, broke a nearly eight-minute scoreless drought and put the Bison up 9-8 with just under three minutes to play as he connected on a six-on-five goal. Just over a minute later Kimble made it 10-8 as he tallied for his team-high third time in the game. Napleton's final save of the game on the ensuing possession allowed Bucknell to play keep-away down the stretch until time expired.
Napleton's previous career high for saves was 16 and he easily eclipsed that as he became the first Bison since program career saves record-holder David Kennedy to post a 20-save outing. The senior co-captain now has 128 saves this year.
"We had an average performance today," commented Bucknell second-year head coach John McBride. "We were lucky to win the game and we have a lot to work on. We need to get better defensively. The road does not get any easier from here. I am glad we went 4-0 this weekend, but I wasn't expecting the games to be as close as they were."
Sunday's game wrapped up the Bison Invitational for Bucknell. The Bison defeated MIT and Toronto on Saturday before beginning Sunday's play with a 12-7 victory over Navy's "B" team. Only the MIT and Harvard contests count in Bucknell's official season won-loss record.
While Hale and Kimble combined to score five of the Bison goals against the Crimson, including the two most important ones, six Bucknell players did find the back of the net. Alex Nowlin had a pair of goals and two assists, while Jack Else, Julian Colina and Brian Barron tallied one apiece.
The Bison were forced to play long stretches of the second half without starters Stefan Aleksic and Julian Colina. Aleksic was whistled for three ejections in the first half, while Colina picked his third up in the opening minutes of the second half.
The difference in the game proved to be Bucknell's success in man-up situations. The Bison were 5-for-11, while Harvard was 3-for-13.
This weekend's Bison Invitational marked the first time Bucknell played at home this year and it is the first of three home events in a six-weekend span.
"It was great to finally play at home," mentioned McBride. "The fan support was great and it was exciting to have the crowd behind us."
The Bison will hit the road for a league game next Saturday, Oct. 6, at Princeton, but will be back in Kinney Natatorium Oct. 13-14 for four league contests against George Washington, Johns Hopkins, Navy and Princeton.
HARVARD 2 1 4 1 -8
Goals: Kimble (3), Hale (2), Nowlin (2), Else, Colina, Barron.