LEWISBURG, Pa. -- Chelsey Garkowski capped off her Senior Day with a bang, going upper-90 in the 86th minute to polish off a 2-0 win over Holy Cross on Saturday at Emmitt Field at Holmes Stadium. With the victory, the Bison clinched a berth in the Patriot League Tournament, and with one regular-season game still to play, they are still in contention for a quarterfinal home game.
"Our top priority was to get back into the postseason after missing out the last two years," said head coach Ben Landis, who earned his 100th career win. "Our players came to Bucknell to compete for championships, and once you get that spot in the tournament, anyone has a chance."
On a chilly, blustery day at Emmitt Field, Courtney Nelson and Cassie Denger teamed up to get the Bison on the board first in the 27th minute. Nelson slipped a pass wide to Denger on the left flank. Denger tried to pick out Evelyn Nicinski inside the 6-yard box, but just as the ball was arriving to Nicinski's foot a Holy Cross defender deflected it in for an own goal.
That's all the Bison (7-8-1, 4-3-1 PL) would need, as freshman goalkeeper Jessica Ratner and entire defense kept the Crusaders (2-11-4, 2-6-0 PL) out of harm's way. Ratner made her first career start and finished with seven saves en route to her first shutout.
Bucknell iced the contest with 4:23 remaining, when Nelson delivered a ball into space in the right side of the penalty area. Garkowski ran onto it, and facing away from goal sent a turning shot over keeper Carly McCabe into the far side netting. It was Garkowski's fourth goal of the season and 13th of her career.
"It was great to keep a clean sheet at home and get a great goal from a senior on Senior Day," said Landis. "We have a lot of respect for Holy Cross and the way they are coached, so we really stressed to our back four to stay engaged for the full 90 minutes and not take a single play off. They did just that. It was a solid performance for them."
Bucknell outshot Holy Cross 18-12 and had all six corner kicks in the match. McCabe logged eight saves for the Crusaders, who fell to the Bison for the ninth straight time.
Bucknell finishes up the regular season at Boston University next Saturday at 2 p.m. The Patriot League quarterfinals will be played on Nov. 5 on the campus of the higher-seeded team. The Bison have temporarily caught Colgate and American for third place with 13 points, but the Raiders and Eagles still have games upcoming this weekend. Colgate plays at Lehigh on Saturday night, while American hosts Boston University on Sunday at 1 p.m.