LEWISBURG, Pa. – Anna Bialczak cleaned up a loose ball in the box in the 73rd minute, lifting visiting Tennessee to a 1-0 victory over Bucknell on Thursday evening. The Volunteers, who are receiving votes in this week’s national poll, improved to 7-0 on the season, while the Bison fell to 1-5 against a difficult non-conference schedule.
In a game played under changing, and at times spectacular, weather conditions, neither team generated many goal-scoring chances in a scoreless first half. The Vols upped their pressure at the start of the second period and nearly broke through in the 50th minute on a rocket from Mary Alice Vignola, but Bucknell’s Alexandra Catanzarite was perfectly positioned to clear the ball off the goal line.
Dani Kaufman, who finished with six saves for the Bison, made her best stop of the night on a Katie Cousins drive from distance, tipping away a shot ticketed for the top left corner. Tennessee finally cashed in with 17:39 left in the match. A loose ball in the box was nudged ahead by McKinley Burkett and put away by Bialczak.
Bucknell’s responded well to the goal and applied its best pressure of the evening in the final 15 minutes. Catanzarite, who was all over the field for the Bison, delivered a nice cross from the right flank that required a leaping grab by Tennessee keeper Shae Yanez coming off her line.
Meghan Holtz ripped a shot over the bar with just over six minutes left. Moments later Catanzarite stopped on a dime, then split two defenders along the right edge of the box before squaring up a pass for fellow freshman Brianna Kropinack in the center of the area. But Yanez was there for the save on Kropinack’s one-timer.
Tennessee finished with a 15-6 shot advantage and led 6-1 in corner kicks. Yanez tallied two saves for the Vols, who have now outscored opponents 16-1 on the season.
“I was very pleased with our overall execution of the game plan,” said Bison head coach Kelly Cook. “We did a good job eliminating their dangerous chances. The goal was unfortunate, but I loved our pressure at the end. It was a good performance against a very tough, athletic team.”
The start of the game was played in a stiff wind into the face of the Bison, which was a prelude to a brief rainstorm. When the showers passed, a brilliant rainbow emerged over Emmitt Field, and then the second half was played in fairly pleasant conditions.
This was Bucknell’s first-ever meeting with a Southeastern Conference team in women’s soccer.
Bucknell goes back on the road to face Penn on Saturday at 7 p.m. in Philadelphia.
Tough battle today against both Tennessee and the weather, but took a lot from the 0-1 result. On to the next one for the Herd! pic.twitter.com/LGUphIKutm— Bucknell WSoccer (@Bucknell_WSOC) September 8, 2017