LEWISBURG, Pa. – Reserve attackers Claire Switala and Lindsey Ferro gave Bucknell a huge lift off the bench, and freshman goalie Elizabeth Duswalt came up with a game-saving stop with three seconds remaining in the game, lifting the Bison to a heart-stopping 11-10 win over American in a Patriot League women’s lacrosse game on Saturday at rainy Graham Field.
Neither Switala nor Ferro had registered a point in limited action so far this season, but the duo combined for four goals and three assists in this one, and the game changed when they entered with the Bison trailing 5-1 early in the game. Switala scored three goals for her second career hat trick, and Ferro logged a goal and three assists. Emily Kookogey and Maddy Molinari also had four-point games with two goals and two assists apiece.
Bucknell (1-10, 1-4 Patriot League) notched its first win of the season, and it came against an American team that was coming off a 15-3 rout of George Mason and also had one-goal losses against a pair of strong programs in Boston University and UMBC.
The outlook seemed bleak after 13 minutes of play, when the Eagles (4-8, 0-4 PL) ran off five straight goals to go up 5-1. But the Bison dominated the next 12 minutes, scoring six in a row to take the lead back. Ferro was the catalyst, assisting on three of those six goals.
Ferro, a senior who is coming back after missing all of last season with a knee injury, picked out Kookogey on a pass across the crease to start the run. Kookogey scored again to make it 5-3, and then the Bison tied it with two goals in just 11 seconds. Ferro fed Switala on the crease for Switala’s first goal. Caroline Collins then corralled one of her team-high six draw controls, and on the restart after a foul she made a long lead pass over the defense to Molinari, who scored on the breakaway to even the match.
Bucknell regained the lead on another Ferro-to-Switala combination, and then Cori Thielemann made it 7-5 off a Kookogey feed with 4:34 left in the half. American ended its 15:53 scoring drought when Emily Maher finished a feed from Jamie Silverman, and the Bison lead was down to 7-6 at the half.
After an exchange of goals in the first three minutes of the second half, the Bison converted a Sam Rickels takeaway into a Sophie Kleinert goal. American won the ensuing draw, but Duswalt answered the call with five saves on the Eagles’ possession, including two stops on free-position attempts.
When the Bison finally got the ball back, Katelyn Miller finished her own 8-meter attempt to make it 10-7. American got one back on an Olivia Mangan goal, but the Bison scored off another draw win just 10 seconds later. Collins nabbed the loose ball and fed Kookogey in open space. Kookogey drew a defender and found Ferro on the crease for the goal.
The contest was far from over, however, as American pulled within 11-10 on goals from Alex Lugovina and Silverman, the latter coming with 12:18 to play. Eagles goalie Jackie Ferri made two big saves, and Bucknell had a couple of failed clears in the final 10 minutes.
A bad pass gave the Bison the ball back with about six minutes to play, and they managed to run three minutes off the clock before American took the ball away. The Eagles could not clear it, however, and Miller grabbed the ground ball. Bucknell caught a break when an American defender was yellow-carded with 2:02 to play, making it more difficult for the Eagles to double-team the ball while short one player.
American finally did check the ball loose with 30 seconds to play, and after a timeout the Eagles had a final possession to tie it. American put the ball in the stick of Lugovina, but in a strange turn of events, both Lugovina and a Bison defender were called for simultaneous fouls with 13 seconds left.
That resulted in a tossed ball outside the arc to the left of the goal. Bucknell was called for a foul on the toss, and after the restart Lugovina looped all the way around to the right side, but Duswalt steered aside her shot. The ball went off the endline to Bucknell with 1.8 seconds left, and all the Bison had to do was run out that last bit before celebrating their first win.
Mangan finished with four goals and an assist for the Eagles, who outshot Bucknell 24-21. Both teams had 11 ground balls, and American had a 13-9 edge on draws. The contest was slowed by 68 total fouls, 37 of which were called against American. Half of American’s goals came on free-position attempts.
Duswalt and Ferri both recorded seven saves in goal.
Bucknell will play twice more at home next week. The Bison will host Howard in a non-league game on Tuesday at 6 p.m., and then Holy Cross comes to Graham Field on Senior Day next Saturday at 1 p.m. Both games will be streamed on Bison Vision on the Patriot League network.