LEWISBURG, Pa. – Kentaro Morrison slotted home a deflected shot in the 71st minute, sending sixth-seeded Colgate to a 1-0 verdict over third-seeded Bucknell in the quarterfinal round of the Patriot League Men’s Soccer Tournament on Tuesday night at Emmitt Field.
The Bison were picked to finish sixth in the Patriot League preseason poll, but a terrific finish helped them earn the No. 3 seed with a 5-3-1 conference record. But Colgate also came on strong late in the regular season to grab the final tournament berth, and now the Raiders will advance to the semifinals to play top-seeded Loyola on Friday.
“There is a long history of great games between these two teams, and we have a ton of respect for Coach [Erik] Ronning and the Colgate program,” said Bucknell head coach Brendan Nash. “Whenever you have a 1-0 game it comes down to which team can put away its best chance, and that’s why Colgate is advancing. We had some good chances but could not finish one.”
It was all Colgate at the onset of the contest, but the field tilted the other way later in the first half. The Raiders (8-10-1) took the game’s first five shots, although none got through to Bucknell keeper Emmett Witmer. Bucknell (7-8-4) settled in at the quarter-hour mark and eventually took the final seven shots of the half.
Colgate’s first shot on frame came in the 53rd minute, a Jared Stroud shot from distance that was handled easily by Witmer. At the other end Cody Wax made a nice move to split two defenders, but Colgate keeper Jacob Harris gobbled up his low shot.
In the 67th minute, Bucknell earned a free kick from a dangerous spot along the right edge of the area. Nick King’s service to the far side of the box was headed on by Tyler Peterson, but Harris was well-positioned for the save.
Four minutes later Colgate had the lead. Witmer went up high to punch away a corner kick, but it went only as far as Morrison at the top of the 18. Morrison’s low drive back through traffic took a deflection off a Bison defender and went into the back of the net.
Bucknell threw numbers forward looking for the equalizer and nearly got it in the 77th minute. Again it was Wax getting in on the right side, but Harris was there for the save, and Christian Clarke cleared away the rebound.
Harris made one more save – his sixth of the night – on King’s free kick with about seven minutes to play, and the Raiders saw out the remainder of regulation from there.
Bucknell finished with a 12-10 shot advantage and an 8-5 edge in corner kicks. Witmer made two saves in the Bison goal.
This was a young Bucknell team, with seven starters from the freshman and sophomore classes. It was the final contest for the team’s three seniors, all of whom were starters: right back Dan Bank, defensive center midfielder Jack Zollicoffer, and forward Ben Derleth. All three contributed to a Patriot League championship and an NCAA Tournament appearance during their careers.