LAWRENCEVILLE, N.J. -- The Bucknell women's soccer team's first victory of the season came in dramatic fashion Sunday at Rider's Ben Cohen Field. Senior co-captain Meghan Holtz found a much-needed equalizing goal with a sensational volley in the 80th minute, and then she set up freshman Brianna Kropinack for the game-winner 4:54 into overtime and a 2-1 Bison victory.
The defending Patriot League champs were searching for their first win of 2017 after starting the season with a gauntlet of Syracuse, Saint Joseph's, Duke and William & Mary. The Bison played in Rider's end for much of the day and garnered a whopping 17 corner kicks, but they just could not find a finishing touch. Things got more dire just three minutes into the second half, when Michelle Iocono gave the Broncs (0-4) the lead with a stunning strike from outside the box off the crossbar and barely down over the goal line.
Bucknell finally hit paydirt on their 15th corner kick of the afternoon. Rider cleared away the initial delivery, but Holtz rocketed a hip-high volley into the back of the net from the top of the 18.
The Bison earned two more corners in overtime and nearly ended it on the first. Freshman Alexandra Catanzarite pounced on the loose ball on the back side and rifled a rising shot over the bar. Not long after that, Bucknell ended it.
The build-up to the winning goal started with a Rider punt. Carly Baggott won a header near midfield, and Holtz popped the ball forward. Kropinack tried to play a combo with Kendall Ham but the play was broken up. Holtz then came racing into the area and chipped a volley over the defense to Kropinack, who was standing all by herself on the left side of the box. The rookie forward calmly brought the ball down and finished from about 10 yards out for her first collegiate goal.
Holtz's goal was her team-leading second of the season, doubling her career total coming into the campaign.
"I was happy with the chances that we generated," said head coach Kelly Cook, whose team finished with a 17-6 shot advantage. "We were much more dangerous in the attacking third today. Now the challenge for us is to find the quality to finish those chances. If we executed better on those scoring plays, whether they were crosses or corner kicks, we might have been able to decide the game sooner."
Bison goalkeeper Dani Kaufman made three saves, all on shots from Iocono, who had all four of Rider's shots on target. The Broncs split their goalkeepers, with starter Carmen Carbonell and Amy Kozlowski finishing with three saves apiece.
Next up is a highly anticipated home date with Tennessee on Thursday at 5 p.m. at Emmitt Field.
"Tennessee will be a very tough opponent, and it will be nice having them at home," said Cook. "We are no stranger to playing quality opponents, but the hope is that our tough early schedule will prepare us for what is coming down the road. Hopefully today's win will give us a little momentum going into Thursday."
For all of our friends and family who couldn't make today's game, here's a look at senior Meghan Holtz's game-tying goal in the 80th minute! pic.twitter.com/lKjWOG68lK— Bucknell WSoccer (@Bucknell_WSOC) September 4, 2017
And the game winner!! Take a look at the overtime goal by freshman Bri Kropinack to win the game at 2-1!! pic.twitter.com/jwYDLxgPcZ— Bucknell WSoccer (@Bucknell_WSOC) September 4, 2017