UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. – The Bucknell women’s soccer team had its great postseason run come to an end with a 6-0 loss against defending national champion Penn State in the first round of the NCAA Tournament on Friday night at Jeffrey Field.
Penn State, the Big Ten regular season champions, controlled possession for much of the game, outshooting the Bison 19-5. The Nittany Lions improve to 12-4-4 and will advance to the second round to take on Virginia.
The Nittany Lions, competing in the NCAA Tournament for the 22nd consecutive season, got on the board in the 15th minute. First Team All-Big Ten honoree Nickolette Driesse blasted a shot from 20 yards out from the left side to the far post. Frannie Crouse, also a First Team All-Big Ten selection, was credited with the assist.
Penn State tacked on another goal in the 41st minute. Charlotte Williams, a Third Team All-Big Ten selection, made a move past her defender before ripping a shot from 17 yards out to the near post.
Alexis Gannon finished with a team-high three shot attempts in the contest, all coming in the first half. The Second Team All-Patriot League honoree had a pair of shots sail high, while her attempt in the 29th minute came on frame, but was saved by Amanda Dennis.
The Nittany Lions opened the second half with a goal, scoring 46 seconds into the period. Haleigh Echard played a ball from Crouse, sending a shot from the left end line that took enough of a curve to the far right post.
Penn State added another goal in the 58th minute. Marissa Sheva tapped in a rebound after Echard had her initial shot saved by Jessica Ratner. Williams scored again for the Nittany Lions in the 70th minute, taking a shot from the top of the box to the left corner. Megan Schafer found the back of the net in the 81st minute to extend the lead.
Continuing to battle in her final collegiate game, Ratner made six saves, including a terrific stop in the 80th minute. She finishes her Bucknell career as the program’s all-time shutouts leader and in a four-way tie for most goalkeeper wins in school history.
The Bison, who had gone 3-0-1 in their last four games, while knocking off three-time defending champion Boston University in the championship game to capture their first Patriot League title since 2005, close the season at 16-2-2. It was a special year for the Bison, setting single-season records in wins (16) and win percentage (.850).
“I am really proud of this group,” said head coach Kelly Cook, the Patriot League Coach of the Year. “We had a fantastic run. Big thanks to our senior class who did a great job leading the group. I’m excited for the returning group as we bring back quite a bit of talent and youth. We look forward to being back here in the NCAA Tournament next year.”