BOSTON, Mass. – The Bucknell field hockey team put forth an impressive defensive effort on New Balance Field on Saturday, but ultimately dropped a 2-0 decision to Patriot League newcomer Boston University. The loss drops the Bison to 7-7 overall and 4-1 in Patriot League action, while the Terriers rise to a 9-5 overall record and a 4-1 mark in conference play.
“It was a very hard fought and physical game,” said head coach Jeremy Cook. “We really held our own against a great team. Boston did a good job of keeping us from getting an offensive rhythm in the attacking third of the field and were also able to capitalize on a few mistakes that we made.”
Boston University struck early to take a 1-0 lead over Bucknell that would last for most of the contest. As the Bison attempted to take the ball out of their defensive zone, Boston’s Ally Alfonso snatched it off the stick of junior Cassie Lawrence, bringing it down to the circle and sending it into the circle with a shot from the right side. Taylor Blood collected it in front of the cage and her attempt on goal was redirected by Amanda Cassera, who popped the ball up and into the left corner of the net at 3:08 to give the Terriers the advantage.
The Bison stiffened their defense noticeably after the early tally, with senior goalkeeper Erica Perrine making diving saves on each of Boston’s first two penalty corners, and the teams battled things out in the midfield. Two consecutive corners for Bucknell at 13:34 gave the squad some quality offensive opportunities, but a smothering Terrier defense left the Bison unable to convert.
Bucknell limited Boston’s shots as the clock wore down in the first half, and Terrier goaltender Valentina Cerda blocked a strong shot by sophomore Emily Hitchings with just over two minutes to play, as the Bison went into halftime trailing by one.
The two squads continued to engage in a defensive struggle in the opening minutes of the second half, with neither team allowing a shot on goal. A Terrier corner mixed things up at 44:27 however, as Boston scored directly off the play, putting the home team up 2-0. Hester van der Laan began the play, sending the ball into the circle off the corner, and Rachel Coll stopped it, sending it over to Ysi Schieb. Schieb sent a one-timer from the top right of the circle that beat Perrine bottom-left and padded the Terriers advantage.
Bucknell never gave up the fight however, playing strong defense and continuing to push for offensive chances as the minutes ticked by in the half. The defensive unit stopped a Terrier breakaway with ten minutes left to play, and Perrine made several clutch saves, including a stop on Blood with four minutes on the clock, but the Bison offense just couldn’t quite break through, and the Terriers preserved their 2-0 win to the final buzzer.
Boston outshot Bucknell 15-5 in the contest and also held an 8-3 advantage in penalty corners. Cerda made four saves for the Terriers, while Perrine had a strong performance for the Bison, making eight stops.
“I was very proud of our effort,” added Cook, “and am really looking forward to working on some of the problem areas that Boston exposed.”
While American now sits in sole possession of first place in the Patriot League with a 4-0 mark, there is still plenty of opportunity for movement in the final weeks of the regular season. The Bison and Eagles will meet in Washington, D.C. next Saturday, while the Terriers will take on the Lafayette Leopards on Nov. 2. A win for Bucknell next weekend could guarantee a three-way tie, while a loss for Boston in two weeks combined with a Bison win could give Bucknell the regular-season title and the right to host the tournament outright.
Before returning to Patriot League play on Saturday, Oct. 26, Bucknell will conclude its weekend in New England with a 2 p.m. game at New Hampshire on Sunday afternoon.