LEWISBURG, Pa. – The Bucknell women’s soccer team opened Patriot League play Sunday with a 2-0 victory over three-time defending champion Boston University at Emmitt Field. Maddie Mulford and Alexis Gannon each found the back of the net in the championship game rematch from last season to improve to 7-0-1 overall on the year.
Bucknell, who dropped its last five conference openers entering Sunday, struck first in the 20th minute. Gabi Rosenfeld crossed the ball into the box, going between the legs of Ali Russo and to the foot of Mulford, who scored the goal on her second try after having the first attempt blocked.
“I was really happy with the way we came out,” said head coach Kelly Cook. “One of our goals today was to start the game sharper and Maddie’s goal was indicative of that.”
Boston University, the preseason favorite after advancing to the NCAA Second Round a season ago, was much more aggressive in the second half. The Terriers put heavy pressure on the Bison back line with 11 shot attempts and five corner kick opportunities.
Bucknell’s defense was up for the challenge, keeping the sheet clean for the third-consecutive game and the sixth time this season. The Terriers nearly connected on an equalizer in the 72nd minute, but Jackie Ham was able to knock the ball off the line.
Goalkeeper Jessica Ratner was impressive in the team’s first-ever victory against the Terriers, making seven saves. Ratner turned away a flurry of shots in the 54th minute, while also making a leaping save in the 62nd minute off a shot from Christina Wakefield. The program’s all-time shutouts leader preserved her 19th-career shutout once more in the 79th minute, making a diving grab off a header from Wakefield.
“You have to give Boston credit for their effort today,” said Cook. “They were fantastic in the second half and put us under a lot of pressure. To keep the sheet clean, you need effort from everybody and that’s what we had today.”
Bucknell added insurance in the final minute off a counter attack from Kendall Ham, who connected with Alexis Gannon for her second goal of the season. Gannon, who took three shot attempts in the contest, nearly scored on a breakaway in the 60th minute off a through ball from Meghan Holtz, but just missed the right post.
While the Bison continue to improve upon their best start in program history, Bucknell has also continued its dominance on its home grass. The Bison are now 10-0-2 in their last 12 contests at Emmitt Field, allowing just three goals in the 12-game span.
Bucknell returns to action Saturday (Sept. 24) with league play at Holy Cross. Game time is scheduled for 5 p.m.