LEWISBURG, Pa. -- Coming off a pair of 2-1 losses to Navy and Colgate, the Bucknell men's soccer team has work to do in order to secure a postseason berth, and the stretch run heats up this week with a Wednesday-night game at defending-champion Lafayette, followed by a Saturday-afternoon home game against Holy Cross. Both contests will be webcast live on the Patriot League Network.
Bucknell comes into Wednesday's 7 p.m. match in Easton in a three-way tie for fifth place in the Patriot League standings alongside Lafayette and Colgate. With three conference games remaining, the Bison, Leopards and Raiders are all on seven points with 2-3-1 PL records. Fourth place American is 2-2-2 and just one point ahead, while 2-4-0 Boston University lurks in eighth place with six points. The top six teams qualify for the Patriot League Tournament.
Despite letting home games slip away on each of the last two Saturdays, the Bison are 8-5-1 overall and still have the third-most overall wins in the league. Striker Jesse Klug scored his team-leading seventh goal of the season last time out against Colgate. Klug leads the Patriot League in shot attempts with 59 and ranks third in goals, trailiing only Navy's Jamie Dubyoski (9) and Loyola's Larry Ndjock (8). Bison midfielder Chris Thorsheim is fourth in the league with five goals.
Bucknell brings a 5-0-1 away record into Wednesday's game at Lafayette. The Bison have outscored foes 10-1 on the road this season, conceding only in a 1-1 draw at American on Oct. 12.
Lafayette is 4-3-7 on the season and has equaled the league record for most ties in a season. The Leopards are coming off a scoreless draw with American on Saturday in Washington, D.C. That was their fifth 0-0 tie of the year. In 14 games Lafayette has scored only 10 goals, but its allowed only nine, the second-lowest total in the Patriot League. Behind goalkeeper Nathan McDonald, the Leopards have a stingy 0.62 team goals-against average, and they have yielded only two first-half goals all season.
Peter Adubato has tallied four of Lafayette's 10 goals this season, while Jeff McLaughlin has two.
This will be the 65th meeting between Bucknell and Lafayette. The two Pennsylvania programs first met in 1931, and they have clashed annually since 1960. Bucknell holds a narrow 29-28-7 series lead, including an 18-11-2 advantage at home.
The Bison and Leopards met in Easton on the final day of the 2012 regular season, and Lafayette prevailed 1-0 on a strange goal just nine seconds into overtime.
The Bison will celebrate Senior Day prior to Saturday's 12:30 p.m. kickoff against Holy Cross. Mayowa Alli, Josh Butzke, Orman Kimbrough and Joe Meyer will all be honored in advance of their final regular-season appearance at Emmitt Field at Holmes Stadium.
Holy Cross enters Wednesday's home match against Patriot League co-leader Army in third place with a 4-2-0 league mark. The Crusaders, 6-6-1 overall, had a three-game winning streak snapped on Saturday, when the other PL co-leader, Navy, scored in overtime to win 1-0 in Worcester.
Holy Cross has some dramatic wins of its own, however. On Oct. 19 at Colgate, the Crusaders scored with 10 seconds left in regulation to force overtime, then struck in sudden-death to win 3-2. They scored in the 88th minute to beat Boston University 1-0, in the 87th in a 2-1 win at Loyola, in the 87th in a 2-1 non-league win over Sacred Heart and in the 77th in a 1-0 verdict over Lafayette. Holy Cross has scored 15 goals this season, and 13 of them have come in the second half and overtime.
Joey DeVivo leads the squad with five goals, while Monty Sanders and Tommy Uttaro have three each. Kevin Wright has started 12 of the 13 games in goal and has a 1.18 goals-against average.
Last season in Worcester, Mass., Luke Melody and Josh Plump swapped goals less than four minutes apart in the first half, and Bucknell and Holy Cross finished in a 1-1 tie. The Bison finished with a 21-9 shot advantage and got six saves from Mike Lansing in goal.
Bucknell is 9-9-5 all-time against Holy Cross in a series that dates back to 1990, the first year of Patriot League play. The Bison are 4-1-5 in the last nine meetings. Nine of the last 13 Bucknell-Holy Cross meetings have gone to overtime, including five in a row from 2000-04.