LEWISBURG, Pa. – Bucknell jumped out to an early lead and then hung on for a 4-3 win over Columbia in an exciting non-conference field hockey game Friday at Graham Field. The Bison improved to 2-3, while the Lions dropped to 0-3.
Bucknell took a 2-0 lead with two goals in a span of less than four minutes early in the first half. Sophomore Brittany Willwerth got things started with a goal off a penalty corner with 27:25 left on the clock, finishing on a play set up by junior Lexi Quick and sophomore Marisa Morakis. It was Willwerth’s first goal of the season as she became the sixth different Bison player to combine on the team’s first six goals.
Sophomore Chloe Poltonavage put the Bison up 2-0 on a unique goal with 23:44 left in the opening half. A pass by Quick went off a stick and into the air. Poltonavage was the only one able to keep track of the ball, knocking it from mid-air past the Columbia goalie for her first goal of the season, giving Bucknell seven different goal scorers on its first seven goals of the year.
Columbia cut its deficit in half with a goal by Michelle Thompson in the 31st minute, but the Bison had a chance to answer that goal before the half. Senior Stephanie Dressler took the team’s first penalty stroke of the season but had the shot blocked by the Lions’ goalkeeper.
Following a game-tying goal by Columbia’s top returning scorer, Maeve Doherty, 6:21 into the second half, Dressler would get another shot at a penalty stroke. The Bison captain would not be denied twice as she beat the goalie to the top left for her second goal of the season, giving the Bison a 3-2 advantage.
Knowing a one-goal lead at that point in the game may not be enough, Bucknell stayed aggressive. The Bison turned a solid defensive play into an offensive opportunity at the other end, resulting in Willwerth’s second goal of the game and a 4-2 lead. Marisa Morakis took the ball on a breakaway from her own end of the field before delivering a short pass inside the arc to Willwerth. The Bison sophomore finished to give her team a cushion with 14:52 to play.
That goal proved to be important as Columbia’s Danielle Buttinger scored with 10:11 remaining in regulation. Bucknell’s defense stood strong in the final 10 minutes and didn’t allow another shot on goal by the Lions.
Senior goalkeeper Emily Finn made two saves for the Bison.
Bucknell has defeated Columbia in back-to-back seasons. The Bison rallied for a 4-2 win over the Lions in 2016.
The Bison are back at Graham Field on Sunday when they host LIU Brooklyn.