Water Polo Goes 1-2 at Bucknell Invitational


Courtesy of Villanova Athletics

Villanova lost its final tow games of the Bucknell Invitational

Camden Wright, Staff Writer

The Villanova women’s water polo team traveled to Lewisburg, PA for the Bucknell Invitational, and went 1-2 at the McKinney Natatorium. 

The team started the weekend off strong on Saturday, Feb. 11, with a dominant 16-7 win over Salem. 

Junior Stella Byles and sophomore Emily McKenzie combined for eight goals during the game, and led the team’s offense along with a hat trick contribution from freshman Ella Mattoks and a pair of goals from senior Allie Hansen. 

Junior goalkeeper Abigail Shelby also picked up her first win of the season in net before switching out with freshman Gracin Kerry to close out the game. 

However, after a successful morning the ‘Cats fell short to Princeton, losing 13-6.  

After a scoreless first quarter, Princeton racked up four goals in the second. While Byles got the first goal for Villanova later in the second quarter, the ‘Cats were still down 6-2 at the half. 

Hanson made a splash again, being the leading scorer of this game with her first hat trick of the season. 

The goals were not enough to revive the Wildcats, as Princeton closed the game with another scoring run, racking up three final goals in the last few minutes of the game. 

The closest game of the weekend for the ‘Cats was their final match-up against the home team, the Bucknell Bison. 

Hansen got the first goal for the ‘Cats this game around 2 minutes in, and even with a quick response from Bucknell, Villanova led the first quarter 3-2.

In the second quarter, Bucknell went on a 3-0 scoring run to bring the score up to a 5-3 lead, but Villanova returned goals to tie it up at 5-5 in the first few seconds of the third quarter. 

The game was tied 9-9 with 50 seconds left, but a late penalty goal from Bucknell gave them the edge in a tough 10-9 loss for the Wildcats. 

“[This tournament] was a really good opportunity to play teams that presented different challenges. It was great to see the team grow and respond in a positive way as we played over the weekend,” said head coach Larry Sanders. “One of [the team’s] season pillars is grit and they showed that throughout the weekend especially in the highly contested loss to Bucknell.” 

After a long weekend of play, Villanova will have a week long break before returning to the pool on the weekend of Feb. 25 for the Princeton Invitational. 

The ‘Cats will take on St. Francis College Brooklyn on Saturday, and close the weekend out with a Chapman University game and a Bucknell rematch on Sunday, Feb. 26.