LEWISBURG, Pa. — The No. 24-ranked Bucknell University women’s water polo team started off its 2022 campaign with a 10-9 win over La Salle University before prevailing against St. Francis College Brooklyn, 12-10, at home in Kinney Natatorium on the first day of the 2022 Bucknell Invitational.
In the morning game versus La Salle, Larissa Hodzic netted the eventual game-winning goal with 1:06 left to gain a two-goal advantage and propel the Bison to a win over the Explorers.
It was a low-scoring first period, with La Salle taking an early advantage, 2-0 after the first quarter. Bucknell halved the deficit to open the second quarter as first-year Izzy Lippolis opened her Bison account by scoring her first career goal at the 7:34 mark.
The second quarter proved eventful, as both teams combined to score nine goals in the period, six of those by the Bison. Paige Furano, Isabelle Monaghan and Hodzic each scored in the frame. Hodzic put an exclamation mark on the second quarter with two goals in the final minute, the latter with 12 seconds to go, as Bucknell took the lead for the first time in the game, 6-5, at the halftime break.
Kali Hyham, an Association of Collegiate Water Polo Coaches (ACWPC) Honorable Mention All-America during her time at Bucknell, opened the scoring for the Explorers to tie the game at six once more in the third quarter. However, goals from Megan LaCroix and a deflected goal by Furano with seven seconds left in the frame restored a one-goal Bison advantage at 8-7.
La Salle tied the game for the fourth time with a goal with 5:48 remaining, but an inaugural career goal by Ali Jackson with 2:58 to go, followed by Hodzic’s goal at the 1:06 mark, gave Bucknell a two-goal cushion, 10-8. Hodzic drew an exclusion earlier in the offensive build-up for the Bison to set up the power play opportunity.
La Salle cut the lead to 10-9 with 42 seconds left, and had a chance to tie in the final seconds, but the Bison held firm as the Explorers attempted to dump the the ball into the center, allowing first-year goalkeeper Annika Lampen to grab the loose sphere and run out the clock.
Furano and Hodzic each scored three goals for the Bison in the victory, while Lippolis and Jackson each scored their first career goals for Bucknell. Lampen made three saves in the win.
In the late contest, Bucknell prevailed in another close game by taking down the Terriers 12-10.
The Bison grabbed a 4-1 lead after the first quarter. Monaghan was involved early on, scoring the first two goals from penalty shots. Chloe Smith added Bucknell’s third minutes later, before Furano capped off the opening eight minutes with a deep shot to beat the buzzer and dent the twine.
Bucknell stretched its margin to 5-1 as Hodzic deposited a shot in the upper left corner to open the second quarter.
However, the Terriers fought their way back into the game, scoring three of the next four goals to cut the Bison lead to 6-4 by halftime.
St. Francis Brooklyn continued its momentum into the second half, pulling within one, 6-5, just 20 seconds into the third quarter.
Celia Foster delivered Bucknell’s response just 20 seconds later to restore a two-goal cushion.
However, the Terriers refused to heel by pulling within one twice more throughout the game, including cutting the Bucknell lead to 10-9 with 6:15 remaining. The Bison found another response, this one courtesy of Jackson, before an insurance goal from Monaghan with three minutes to go pushed to insulated the lead.
Furano scored four goals in the win, while Monaghan added a career-best three goals. Jackson, Hodzic, LaCroix and first-year Boati Motau also scored in the victory in support of a seven save effort by Lampen.
Information courtesy Bucknell University Athletics Communications