LEWISBURG, Pa. -- Backed by first-half goals from senior Ben Derleth and freshman Matt Thorsheim and a complete 90-minute effort all over the field, the Bucknell men's soccer team upended Duquesne 2-0 on Saturday at Emmitt Field. It was a strong bounce-back performance after a long day at Stetson last time out, and the Bison improved to 2-2 on the season.
Bucknell took it to the Dukes (1-3) right from the opening whistle, playing much of the game in the visitors' end of the field. It took nearly 20 minutes for the Bison to begin getting quality looks at goal, however, but once they did, the two goals came in quick succession. In the 24th minute, Nick King lobbed a high ball into the box. A number of players from both teams converged, and the ball fell perfectly for Derleth, who finished into the left side of the goal.
Just over four minutes later it was 2-0. Dan Bank, a senior right back making his first start of the season, got all the way to the end line, then made a sweet juke to beat a defender and get a cross into the center of the box. All Thorsheim had to do was volley it home from point-blank range for his first career goal.
From there the Bison took care of business in their own end and picked up their second shutout of the season. Duquesne had scored eight goals in its first three games, but the Bison limited the Dukes to six total shots in this one, only four on frame. The only nervous moments came in the first half. Center back Tyler Peterson cleared Austin Stout's shot from distance off the goal line after keeper Ryan Ott came out to try to break up a play near the edge of the box. Just after the Derleth goal, Ott made his best save of the day with a dive to his left to corral a low skimmer from Noah Mehta. Ott finished with three saves, while his counterpart Robbie McKelvey had four.
Bucknell finished with a 14-6 shot advantage -- 7-3 in each half -- and its return to form was keyed by the three seniors. Bank was stellar at both ends of the field, Jack Zollicoffer played the full 90 at central midfield and worked hard from box to box, and Derleth was rewarded for his efforts with a well-deserved opening goal.
"All week we talked about what we learned about ourselves on the trip to Florida last week," said head coach Brendan Nash. "In the Stetson game we didn't take care of the little things, we didn't communicate or help each other, and frankly we just didn't compete. But our effort today showed that we took that to heart and learned from it. We competed for 90 minutes. It started with our seniors putting in the hard work, and we made the most of our chances."
It was an important victory for the Bison heading into a four-game road trip. They will visit Robert Morris next Saturday on a stretch that will also take them to St. Peter's, Lafayette and Fairleigh Dickinson.