LEWISBURG, Pa. – The Bucknell women’s soccer team scored three unanswered goals in the second half to defeat MAAC preseason favorite Monmouth 3-1 on opening night of the 2016 season Friday at Emmitt Field. Center backs Karli Cirovski and Maddie Dano each recorded a goal in the contest as the Bison improve to 1-0 on the year and 2-0 in season openers under head coach Kelly Cook.
The Bison defense was under pressure in the first half, as the Hawks recorded eight shots and five corner kicks. Monmouth, the three-time defending MAAC regular season champions, got on the board in the 22nd minute off a set piece from Madie Gibson that bounced off the head of Gabriella Cuevas and into the goal.
Bucknell came out more aggressive on both sides of the ball in the second half, outshooting the Hawks 7-3 while holding a 7-2 advantage in corner kicks.
The Bison knotted the score in the 51st minute off a header from Cirovski. On a corner kick opportunity, Dano placed the ball right outside the box where Cirovski was able to leap high and insert the ball to the left post for her first collegiate goal.
Dano found the back of the net herself just 1:17 after setting up Cirovski for her goal. Following a Bison corner kick that was cleared away by Monmouth, Jackie Ham recycled the possession, finding Dano, who blasted the ball from the top right corner to the far left post to record her first career goal in a Bison uniform and give Bucknell a 2-1 advantage.
The Bison added insurance in the 84th minute off an own goal. Preseason All-Patriot League midfielder Meghan Holtz tried to the cross the ball into the box, bouncing off the foot of a Monmouth defender and into the net.
“We made some adjustments at halftime," said Cook. “We knew once we scored one goal, the momentum would swing and that we had a chance to get back in the game. The adjustments worked and they came back fired up on Emmitt, which is always a fun place to play.”
Goalkeeper Jessica Ratner, a Preseason All-Patriot League honoree, recorded three saves in the contest, including a terrific one-on-one save in the 78th minute following a hard-hit shot from Lexie Palladino.
With the victory, Bucknell improves to 2-0 all-time against Monmouth, and extends its home unbeaten streak to nine games dating back to last season.
Bucknell returns to action Sunday with a contest at Saint Francis (Pa.). Game time is scheduled for 2 p.m.