LEWISBURG, Pa. -- For the second year in a row the Bucknell women's lacrosse team won a one-goal thriller over Holy Cross on Senior Day. This time it was an 8-7 verdict propelled by a five-point game from senior Katelyn Miller and a last-second save from freshman goalie Elizabeth Duswalt.
The victory was Bucknell's third in a row after an 0-10 start, and at 2-4 in the Patriot League the Bison are still very much alive for a Patriot League Tournament berth. Bucknell is still in seventh place but is just one game behind the fifth-place Crusaders (5-9, 3-3) in the standings. The top six teams qualify for the postseason.
Bucknell had complete control of this game for the first 59 minutes, but it was nearly undone by a frantic comeback by Holy Cross. The Bison lead 8-3 after a Claire Switala goal with 22:08 to play. Kate Martino scored with 6:50 remaining for the Crusaders, but Bucknell still seemed to be in good shape leading 8-4 with the ball inside 90 seconds remaining.
But a Crusaders takeaway led to a Martino goal with 1:02 left, and then a pair of draw controls led to two more goals, one from Laura Ryan with 47 seconds left and another from Martino with 29 seconds remaining. Holy Cross won yet another draw and had a chance to tie it up. Martino shot wide from the slot with seven seconds left. After the restart Lissie Russert drove in from the right side, and Duswalt got a piece of her low shot as time expired.
Seven days earlier Duswalt made a save with three seconds remaining to preserve an 11-10 win over American. She finished with nine saves in this one, six coming in the second half.
One of eight seniors honored prior to the game, Miller tallied three goals and two assists, to go with two caused turnovers and two ground balls. Freshman Maddy Molinari added two goals, Switala had a goal and an assist, and senior Lindsey Ferro dished out two more assists, giving her 11 during this three-game winning streak.
Bucknell outshot Holy Cross 21-6 in the first half but only had a 5-2 lead thanks to five saves from Crusaders goalie Sarah Weber. It was a 1-1 game with 11:38 left in the half when senior Sophie Kleinert gave the Bison the lead for good on an 8-meter attempt. Miller sandwiched a pair of goals around a Molinari score in a span of less than four minutes to make it a 5-1 game.
Tess MacKay closed out the first-half scoring and Ryan tallied just 21 seconds into the second half to bring Holy Cross within 5-3. Bucknell opened up some breathing room with another three-goal run in four minutes. Miller, Molinari and Switala registered the goals, the latter coming just after an impressive save by Duswalt.
Bucknell would need all of that five-goal cushion, however. The Bison finished with a 30-18 edge in shots and won the ground-ball battle 19-16. Bucknell's lopsided time-of-possession advantage was reflected in the fouls column, where Holy Cross had 40 and the Bison only 15.
Caroline Collins led the team with four draw controls, while Kleinert had a team-high four ground balls.
Miller, Ferro, Kleinert, Kerri Althouse, Char Damico, Worcester native Emily Fask, Andrea Feldman and Elizabeth Gauf were all recognized prior to the game, which conjured memories of last season's 10-9 Senior Day win over the Crusaders that snapped a 26-game Patriot League losing streak.
Bucknell now has a critical league match at Lafayette on Wednesday night at 7:30 p.m. in Easton, Pa. The game will be streamed live on the Patriot League Network.