SYRACUSE, N.Y. – In a battle of undefeated teams, it was Bucknell who prevailed Thursday with a 2-1 victory at Syracuse at SU Soccer Field. With the win, the Bison improve to 4-0 for the first time since 2001.
It was the Bison’s first ever victory against ACC member Syracuse. Bucknell defeated another ACC foe in Maryland 3-2 in 2008, before the Terrapins moved to the Big Ten Conference. The Bison also hold victories against Pittsburgh, which came before the Panthers moved to the ACC.
Bucknell did not generate much offense in the early going, but was able to get on the board in the 68th minute. Following a Bison punt, the ball was collected by Maddie Mulford, who sent a thru ball to Kendall Ham for the finish to the left post. The goal from Ham was the first goal allowed by Syracuse in over three games and the first at home in 2016.
The Bison added to their lead in the 72nd minute, thanks to a great corner kick from Maddie Dano. Dano blasted the ball, getting enough of an angle for the ball to find the back of the net to complete the Olympic score.
A minute later, Syracuse (3-1-1) answered with an unassisted goal from Eva Gordon to cut the deficit to one.
Looking for the equalizer, the Orange had an opportunity in the 77th minute off a shot from Taylor Bennett. Following a Bucknell foul, Bennett took the free kick, but had the ball hit off the top of the crossbar and over the net.
It was one of several close calls for the ACC program on Thursday, who missed on two scoring opportunities in the first half. In the 17th minute, Carolin Bader had her shot bounce down off the top of the crossbar and snatched away by Jessica Ratner before crossing the line.
The second scoring chance came in the 42nd minute. Eva Gourdeau had a shot on goal knocked away by Kelsey Witt, who sprinted from one side of the field to the goal to kick the ball away and preserve the clean sheet to that point.
Syracuse, who entered Thursday on a three-game winning streak, put pressure on the Bison defense, taking 11 shots in the contest. Bucknell’s back line was up for the challenge, turning away five shots on goal.
Ratner finished with five saves in the contest, making several tough stops, including a diving effort in the 23rd minute.
“I was so proud of the team today,” said head coach Kelly Cook. “We came out, we battled and fought hard. We held them scoreless in the first half and our back line and goalkeeping was fantastic. In the second half, we came out really strong and were able to score two great goals. It was really a team win.”
Bucknell returns to Lewisburg for a matchup against Rider on Sunday. Game time is scheduled for 3 p.m. and will broadcast on the Patriot League Network.