ANNAPOLIS, Md. – An outstanding 2013 season for the Bucknell men’s soccer team came to an end at the hands of the hottest team in the country on Friday, as top-seeded Navy defeated the Bison 1-0 in the Patriot League Tournament semifinals at the Glenn Warner Soccer Facility. Bucknell finishes 13-6-1, tying for the second-most wins in program history, while Navy extended its national-best winning streak to 13 in a row and will advance to the Patriot League championship match for the first time since 1999.
Navy (14-3-2) entered the match ranked No. 21 in the Top Drawer Soccer national poll and No. 30 in the College Soccer News poll, and it is receiving votes in the NSCAA Top 25 rankings. The Midshipmen won it in the 58th minute when Sam Bascom took the ball along the end line and centered to a cutting Dave Arnold, whose shot took a late deflection off a Bison defender before going in the back of the net.
The goal came only about 30 seconds after Jesse Klug and Chris Thorsheim executed a nice give-and-go, but Klug’s clean shot went over the bar. Klug made a terrific move pulling the ball back to his right foot in the first half, but his shot solidly struck the left post. He did the same thing but to his left foot in the 70th minute, but this time Gavin Snyder was well-positioned for the save.
The Bison had another good chance with 14:40 remaining on the clock, as Pat Plourde centered for a hard-charging Patrick Figgie, but Figgie’s sliding attempt just missed high. Navy defended well in the last 10 minutes after Bucknell had controlled most of the action since the Arnold goal.
Bucknell finished with a 16-15 shot advantage. Klug had eight of those shots, giving him a league-high 90 in 20 games this season. Snyder made eight saves for Navy, while Mike Lansing had two for the Bison, including a nice diving stop on Thomas Shiiba in the 73rd minute.
Bucknell had a number of streaks come to an end in this one. The Bison had won five straight games, including a 3-1 win over American in the Patriot League Tournament quarterfinals on Tuesday. They had scored in 11 straight games, and they had been 8-0-1 on the road. Bucknell finished the year with a 15-2 goal differential away from home.
The contest marked the final match for seniors Mayowa Alli, Josh Butzke, Orman Kimbrough and Joe Meyer. This class won 37 games over the last four years. The 13 wins this season equaled the 2002 squad for second-most all-time at Bucknell. The 2009 team won 17 games.
“I thought we followed the game plan and played as well as we could have played, but we just ended up on the wrong end of a 1-0 game,” said coach Brendan Nash afterward. “I’d like to congratulate Navy on what has been a great season so far and wish them the best of luck in the championship. From our perspective, it’s disappointing to end the season in the semifinals, but to win 13 games is a testament to the outstanding leadership of our four seniors. They have definitely left their legacy on our program.”
Navy will play the winner of the other semifinal between No. 2 Army and No. 3 Holy Cross in the championship game on Sunday at 1 p.m.