LEWISBURG, Pa. -- Kiersten Sydnor scored two goals and Rachel Misko and Leigh Hillman added tallies to lift the Bucknell field hockey team to a 4-1 win over Lehigh in the Patriot League opener for both sides on Saturday morning at Graham Field at Holmes Stadium. The Bison improved to 4-3 overall with 16th-ranked Delaware coming in for a non-league game on Sunday.
A week after outshooting Penn 21-3 in a 2-1 victory at Graham Field, Bucknell again controlled the run of play in this one. The Bison finished with a 21-6 shot advantage, but this time they cashed in on the scoreboard and held the lead for the final hour of the contest.
All four Bison goals were beautifully set up, with the passes just as impressive as the finishes. That was particularly the case on Sydnor's opening strike just 9:51 into the match. Five different Bison handled the ball on a penalty corner play, as Amie Pritchard inserted to Kelsey Mucelli, who stopped the ball for Vickie Resh. Resh faked a shot and passed to her right to Liz Wills, who then found Sydnor in the slot for a one-timer past Lehigh goalie Julia Ward.
The speedy Pritchard had a dominant game on the right side, and she set up Bucknell's second goal in the 23rd minute. Prichard intercepted a Lehigh outlet pass coming out of the back and sprinted the ball to the end line, faked out a defender and centered a pass to Misko for the score.
Less than seven minutes later it was 3-0 after Abby Watson set up Hillman for her team-leading fifth goal of the year. Watson stickhandled around three defenders coming in from the left side and then threaded a neat diagonal pass to Hillman, who tipped the ball into the upper corner of the cage.
Lehigh pulled one back with 4:55 left in the half when a pass back to a defender off a restart went awry, and Marissa Glatt walked in alone and scored on the breakaway.
In the second half, Bison goalie Erica Perrine made a nice sprawling save to turn aside a Lehigh penalty corner chance and keep it a two-goal margin. Bucknell added a comforting insurance marker with 6:42 to play on yet another neat passing sequence. Watson started it by taking the ball away from a Lehigh player near the left sideline. She slapped a pass the width of the field to Maggie Murphy, who did well to control the bouncing ball. Murphy took the ball into the circle and fed a wide-open Sydnor in front for her second goal of the day and fourth of the season.
"I am very happy that we were able to execute exactly what we needed to execute in order to get the win," said head coach Jeremy Cook. "Lehigh is much improved over last year, so this was great for us to start off Patriot League play with a win. Our ball-movement and outletting was great, and Liz Wills did a great job leading us out of the back."
Perrine made three saves while conceding just the breakaway goal. Ward stopped seven shots for the Mountain Hawks, who fell to 2-5 on the season.
Bucknell and Delaware will meet on Sunday at noon at Graham Field. The game will air live on Bison Vision on the Patriot League Network.