No. 9 Men’s Water Polo Concludes Season with Hard-Fought NCAA Opening Round Match

Harvard mens's water polo team action shot
Photo Credit: Gil Tablot
Play Video

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. – The No. 9 Harvard men's water polo team (29-1, 10-0 NWPC) concluded its season in the opening round of the NCAA Tournament. The Crimson fell to the No. 12 Bucknell Bison (23-8, 10-2 MAWPC) 13-12 in a hard-fought match that came down to the final seconds.

 Senior captain Charlie Owens paced the Crimson on offense, scoring three goals, all in the first quarter of play. Both junior Dennis Blyashov and first-year Kaleb Archer scored two of their own in the match. Sophomore Michael Sonsini and first-year Alexandru Bucur led Harvard in assists, each tallying three helpers. Backstopping the Crimson in goal was Sophomore Noah Hodge who totaled 11 saves.

Harvard and Bucknell traded scoring opportunities to keep the match tied until early in the second quarter when the Crimson took the 7-5 lead. Bucknell would answer with two goals of its own to tie the match up again at seven. Harvard would take an eventual 9-8 lead but the Bison would score two-straight to go up 9-11 entering the half. Archer would tally the first goal in the third quarter and Hodge would make three-straight saves to cut Bucknell's lead to one. However, Bucknell would find the back of the net for its second goal in the third to increase its lead to two for the second time in the match. The two-goal lead would prove enough to ensure a Bucknell victory as last-minute goals by Dennis Blyashov were not enough to tie the match up again. Despite pulling with one with 2:27 left to play, the Crimson would fall to Bucknell 13-12.

Harvard Highlights

  • With 66 assists during the 2019 season, Sonsini is third all-time in single-season assists in program history.
  • Noah Hodge concludes the season second in all-time single-season saves in program history, with 254.
  • The Crimson made it through regular season and NWPC Championship play without being defeated.

Up Next
The Crimson will now look towards the 2020 season and begin its preparation to defend its NWPC title.