LEWISBURG, Pa. – A resolute Bison women’s soccer team bounced back after conceding an early goal and earned a 1-1 tie with Colgate on Saturday at chilly Emmitt Field at Holmes Stadium. Evelyn Nicinski’s third goal of the season leveled the match at 1-1 in the 53rd minute, and Bucknell nearly won it on two occasions in overtime but hit a crossbar and had a breakaway stopped by Colgate keeper Brenna Mason.
The draw moved Bucknell’s record to 5-8-1 overall and 2-3-1 in the Patriot League, and the Bison pulled into sole possession of fifth place in the league standings. Colgate, which entered the day in a tie for second, is now 8-4-1 overall and 4-1-1 in the Patriot League.
The Raiders seemed poised to take the full three points when they applied pressure right off the opening whistle. They took the lead just 6:19 into the contest when Caroline Brawner did well to corral a service from Taryn Tomczyk, and Brawner scored her team-leading fifth goal of the year from eight yards out.
By the midpoint of the first half Bucknell was able to settle in after the tough start, and the Bison had three good chances in the latter stages of the period. A nice pass from Alexis Gannon sent Chelsey Garkowski behind the defense, but Mason was there for her first of six saves on the day. Moments later Devan Schulte intercepted a square pass in the Colgate backfield but her one-time shot bent wide of the left post.
With 8:40 left in the half the Bison were awarded a free kick just outside the 18, but Mason was well-positioned for the save on Nicinski’s attempt. With 2:35 on the clock the Bison dodged a bullet when Jenna Panepinto’s drive solidly struck the crossbar. The framework at the south end of the field would even things up much later in the match.
Bucknell was outstanding after the break, applying waves of pressure against a Colgate squad that had allowed only eight goals all year coming in. The Bison were rewarded for their efforts in the 53rd minute. Garkowski came up with a steal, took the ball to the right of the penalty area and slipped a pass to Nicinski in the center of the box. Nicinski slotted a shot past a defender and the charging keeper to knot the game at 1-1.
Nicinski’s goal was one of 12 second-half shots pumped out by Bucknell. Brigit Falcon was a menace on the left wing all half, and she had three good looks at goal. Sarah Bresette and Madison Loos also barely missed from dangerous spots, and then with 5:10 left in regulation Mason came out to smother Garkowski after she broke in again.
Mason made an even tougher save in the first overtime period, when Garkowski played Gannon in for another breakaway. Gannon cut to the center of the box to open up more of the goal, but Mason barely got her left hand on the shot and the ball spun just wide.
With just under a minute left in the first OT session, Garkowski unleashed a shot from the right wing that struck the underside of the crossbar and bounced away.
Bucknell finished with a 21-18 shot advantage, including a 15-11 edge after halftime.
“We changed our shape, but to be fair I think we just had a better belief and desire,” head coach Ben Landis remarked about the team’s second-half surge. “That was my challenge to them at halftime. I felt we were a little bit lackluster in the first half, but we realized it was only 1-0 at halftime. We thought if we could play with some poise and put some pressure on them it would create some chances. Credit to their keeper, I thought she made some great plays to keep it a 1-1 game.”
Freshman goalkeeper Jessica Ratner came on at the start of the second half for the Bison. She made four saves in her second career appearance, including two in sudden-death.The Bison will have a short turnaround before traveling to Lafayette for another key Patriot League match on Wednesday night.