MOON TOWNSHIP, Pa. – There was high drama at Joe Walton Stadium in Saturday’s women’s lacrosse season opener, as junior goalie Jamie DeWitt made four of her 11 saves on overtime free-position shots, setting up senior Mary Margaret Kenney to win it on an 8-meter attempt of her own to give Bucknell a 5-4 double-overtime win over Robert Morris.
In Remington Steele’s debut as Bucknell’s head coach, his defense was the story of the game. After conceding two goals in the first 3:31 of the game, the Bison allowed only two more the rest of the way. It was the team’s stingiest defensive effort in two years, dating back to a 25-1 win over Delaware State in the 2016 season opener, and it was the first time since 2004 (5-4 over La Salle) that the Bison won a game when scoring five or fewer goals.
It was a defensive struggle all day, as both defenses came up with takeaway after takeaway. Trailing 3-2 at the half, the Bison finally tied it at 3-apiece with 13:47 to play on a pretty unassisted goal by Eve Lukowski coming from behind the cage. Bucknell took its first lead of the day on a Morgan Steinhacker goal dodging from up top with just 2:07 to go.
But the Colonials equalized with 0:59 left – ending a scoring drought of 37:01 – when Dana Davis split to defenders and scored with a lefty finish from close range.
DeWitt was the story in overtime. Robert Morris was awarded five free-position shots in sudden-victory play, but the Bison netminder made point-blank saves on four of them and had the fifth covered as it skipped wide of the right post.
Bucknell survived two yellow cards in overtime, and then won it with 1:45 remaining in the second six-minute sudden-victory period. Steinhacker won the draw after the change of sides. Robert Morris stole it away, but the Bison quickly got it back on the ride, with Kenney nabbing the ground ball near midfield.
Sophia Klaber fed a pass to Kenney inside the arc, where she was fouled from behind, resulting in a free-position attempt. Kenney fired the shot past Katelyn Miller into the bottom left corner to end it, giving the Bison their first overtime win since a 16-15 shootout against Liberty in 2012.
Meghan Crouse and Mackenzie Gandy gave Robert Morris the quick 2-0 lead, but the Bison tied it later in the first half on goals by Audrey Walsh and Sarah Dohler. It was the first career goal for Dohler, a sophomore midfielder.
Robert Morris outshot Bucknell 25-12 and won the draw control battle 9-5, but DeWitt outsaved Miller 11-2 between the pipes. The Bison defense forced 22 turnovers, while Robert Morris forced 26.
Bucknell is back on the road next Saturday to face Hofstra at noon. The home opener is set for Feb. 21 against Villanova at 4 p.m. at Graham Field.