No. 20 Men's Water Polo Edged by No. 15 Bucknell, 7-6, in Eastern Semis
In a very tight defensive battle where the lead transferred multiple times, it was No. 15 Bucknell to come out on top and edge past the No. 20 Princeton men's water polo team, 7-6, to advance to the Eastern Championship title game Saturday at DeNunzio Pool.
The Tigers' hopes for defending their Eastern crown ended with the loss and they will now face Mercyhurst in the third-place contest on Sunday, Nov. 18 at 1 p.m. Princeton fell to the Lakers in the semifinals at the Southern Championship two weeks ago.
Bucknell's Mike Kimble broke onto the board first with a goal at 3:21 in the opening quarter, but Tommy Donahue was there to even the score with a clean shot past the Bison goalie at 1:40.
The score did not remain knotted for long in the second quarter, as again Bucknell managed to retake the lead at 6:51. A fighting Tigers side responded with a Kayj Shannon score at 2:28. Princeton was unable to create a momentum pull, as the Bison's Jack Else scored a third go-ahead goal before halftime.
Down 3-2, Billy Tifft was the third Tiger to even the score 1:20 into the second half. His goal would ignite a scoring rally for Princeton, as Tim Wenzlau and Donahue followed suit. The Tigers' offensive three-goal rally put the home team up 5-3, but Princeton was unable to preserve its point cushion.
The Bison managed to even the score, 5-5, off a pair of goals with less than two minutes to play in the third quarter and retake the lead for the third time in the game near the midpoint of the fourth. In a 6-on-5 play, Brian Barron sent the ball into the cage at 4:46.
Again in a hole, Princeton had to find a way to score the equalizer. This time it was freshman Jamie Kuprenas who tied things up at 2:29. However, Bucknell was there to respond again less than a minute later to put them up 7-6.
Princeton had a final possession, in hopes of forcing overtime, but the Bison managed to shut down its final offensive drive.
Donahue led the offense with two goals on four attempts. Sam Butler tallied three steals, while Drew Hoffenberg and Tifft had a pair of steals apiece.
In goal, freshman Alex Gow made seven saves and dished an assist.No. 20 Princeton: 1 - 1 - 3 - 2 - 6
No. 15 Bucknell: 1 - 2 - 2 - 1 - 7
Goals: Donahue 2, Kuprenas 1, Shannon 1, Tifft 1, Wenzlau 1
Assists: Gow 1, Kuprenas 1
Steals: Butler 3, Hoffenberg 2, Kuprenas 1, Ruth 1, Shannon 1, Tifft 1, Weber 1, Wenzlau 1