Bucknell Brothers from the City of Brotherly Love
Oct. 5, 2005
By Todd Merriett, Bucknell Athletic Communications
Dubbed the "Team Mom" for her constant attendance home and away, Priscilla, whose husband, Joel, passed away from cancer in 1999, is the mother of brothers Brad and Kyle, two important cogs on the successful Bison squad that last year posted its most victories since 2000. Brad is a senior captain and tallied a team-high 50 goals last year, while Kyle, who topped all freshmen with 17 goals and 34 points a season ago, is a sophomore.
Natives of Philadelphia, although the family did live in the water polo-crazed state of California for eight years while the boys were younger, Brad and Kyle followed in the footsteps of their two older brothers when it came to both athletics and academics. Their oldest brother, Marshall, 25, was a standout water polo player at Princeton University, while another brother, Scott, 24, was a member of the lacrosse team at Dartmouth College.
Brad was the first Roslyn boy to spurn the Ivy League and instead chose Bucknell.
"I knew I wanted to play competitive water polo at a good school on the East Coast, and that narrows it down to about eight schools," explains Brad, who was 46 goals shy of moving into Bucknell's career top-10 list entering his finals season and was an Honorable Mention All-American in 2004. "I had actually played on a club team with Coach Zeigler when I was younger. I thought he was a great guy and I liked the direction the program was going in with the new pool. I decided Bucknell was the best choice both academically and for water polo."
Not concerned about a possible shadow cast by Brad's 88 goals his first two seasons, Kyle followed two years later.
"I visited Brad my junior and senior years of high school and saw how much fun he was having and how well I got along with the guys on the team, so it made my decision easy," recalls Kyle. "Getting the chance to play together again was another bonus."
Both Roslyns applied to Bucknell and were accepted early decision, a testament to their academic prowess.
Brad and Kyle honed both their academics and athletics at William Penn Charter School in Philadelphia before landing in Lewisburg. There, they helped form a dynasty, along with their brother Marshall and friends Dan and Mike McKenna. Dan, who graduated from Princeton in 2004, was a member of the Tiger water polo team, while Mike, a close friend of Brad's, is a current senior on the Princeton squad.
"We elevated water polo at our school since before us it was not that big of a sport," says Brad. "In the last 10 years there have been six players from our high school to play in college, and we won the prep school eastern championships my senior year."
Through their high school and club teams the Roslyns played water polo in New Jersey, Maryland, Ohio and Pennsylvania, along with trips to California. The rigorous schedule adequately prepared them for the college game as shown by the immediate impact each had. Brad started 22 games and was tied for second on the team with 40 goals as a freshman, while Kyle made 15 starts and was fifth on the veteran-laden team with 34 points.
Brad, who was named first team All-East and first team All-Southern Division as a junior, has continued to improve since his outstanding rookie season. Zeigler expects Kyle to do the same.
"Brad and Kyle are very similar players and Brad's maturity level peaked last year," comments Zeigler. "Kyle has seen that and wants to take that step even earlier."
The success of the brothers can be partially attributed to their competitiveness. According to Zeigler they will yell and go after each other, but remain very close. Kyle, who like Brad, brings loads of humor to the team, claims he will give a few extra cheap shots to his brother during practice.
As the 2005 campaign gets underway, Brad realizes his time as a Bison is getting shorter, while Kyle sees his time to shine right around the corner. Despite the different junctures in their careers, both have the same goal - advance to the NCAA Championship, held at Bucknell's Kinney Natatorium Dec. 3-4.
"As a team we want to not only win the Southern Championships, but Easterns as well, so we can advance to NCAAs," says Kyle, who was not even born the last time the Bison qualified for the NCAA Championship in 1985.
"We have the banner up at the end of the pool touting the NCAA Championship and it is definitely on our minds," explains Brad, an economics major who is still unsure of what he will do following graduation in May. "We want to be in the pool playing as opposed to watching it from the stands."
That banner will serve as a reminder for what is possible all season as Zeigler, a 1991 Bucknell graduate who captained both the water polo and swimming teams as a senior, has lined up the most difficult schedule the Bison have faced during his seven years at the helm.
Of course, if Bucknell is to participate in the NCAA Championship, the "Team Mom" will be rooting on her sons from the stands, just like every other game over the past several years.