Bucknell Men's Water Polo Travels to Harvard for this Weekend's Eastern Championship
Nov. 16, 2011
LEWISBURG, Pa. -The Bucknell men's water polo team will compete in the Eastern Championship this weekend for the 12th consecutive season. The Bison have finished in the top five at the event each year since 2004. Bucknell qualified for the Eastern Championship based on its top-four finish two weeks ago at the Southern Championships. The winner of this weekend's eight-team tournament will advance to the NCAA Championship, which will take place Dec. 3-4 at Cal.
This year's Eastern Championship will take place at Harvard's Blodgett Pool. The Bison will face off against Brown in a 4 p.m. first-round game on Friday. The winner of that match will play in the semifinals on Saturday at 6 p.m. against either Navy or Harvard, while the championship game is slated for Sunday at 2:30 p.m. Bucknell was the third seed in the Southern Division, while the Bears were the second seed from the North, setting up the first-round matchup.
The eight-team Eastern Championship field includes four ranked teams (No. 15 Navy, No. 16 St. Francis, No. 18 Brown, No. 19 Princeton). Princeton, Navy and St. Francis have combined to claim every title since 2003.
The Bison enter the weekend with a 13-9 record and are coming off a third-place finish at the Southern Championships. Brown, which is ranked 18th nationally, is 19-9 overall this year. It finished second at the Northern Championships, falling to St. Francis (N.Y.) in five overtimes in the title game.
Brown will be the 10th ranked opponent Bucknell has faced in its last 16 games. The Bison are 3-7 overall opposite ranked foes this season.
Bucknell and Brown faced each other once earlier this year at the North vs. South Invitational with the Bears posting an 8-7 victory. The Bison are 21-29-2 all-time against Brown. The two teams last met at the Eastern Championship in 2009 with Bucknell posting an 8-6 first-round win.
Bison first-year head coach John McBride was an assistant coach at Brown the last seven seasons.
The Bison, this weekend, will be attempting to qualify for the NCAA Championship for the sixth time in program history, and the first since 1985.
Sophomore Alex Nowlin leads Bucknell in points this year with 79 on 26 goals and 53 assists. Fellow sophomore Jack Else is the only player to start all 22 games this season. He currently leads the team with 64 ejections drawn. That number places him fourth on the program's single-season list. He is tied for seventh on the career ledger with 91 ejections drawn. Else also leads the team with 42 goals and is in third place with 48 points.
Trevor Reitz is also moving up the record lists this season. He has won 53 sprints, which places him third on the single-season list. He has claimed 77 sprints in his career, good for fourth on the all-time list. Reitz also leads the team in steals with 32 this year.
Junior Matt Napleton recently earned his fifth Collegiate Water Polo Association Defensive Player of the Week honor. As the starting goalie, Napleton has registered 11 double-figure save performances this season, one of which was his individual season high of 16 against George Washington. He has recorded a 50 percent save percentage or better in 12 of the 21 games he has played this season. Napleton has received weekly honors five out of seven weekends of play this year.
Tickets for the Eastern Championship are $25 for a weekend pass and $13 for a daily pass for general admission seating. For Harvard students and staff the cost is $12 (weekend pass) and $5 (day pass). Live video of every game of the Eastern Championship will be broadcast live on the CWPA website. A tournament subscription is $25, while a per game subscription is $10.
Bucknell's Weekly Awards in 2011
Bucknell vs. Eastern Championships Field
2011 Eastern Championship (Cambridge, Mass.)
Saturday, Nov. 19
Sunday, Nov. 20