Setting the Scene, Part 1
Who: Tennessee (6-0-0, 0-0-0 SEC) at Bucknell (1-4-0, 0-0-0 PL)
When: Thursday, Sept. 7, 5 p.m.
Where: Emmitt Field, Lewisburg, Pa.
Live Video: Patriot League Network
Live Stats: BucknellBison.com
Setting the Scene, Part 2
Who: Bucknell (1-4-0, 0-0-0 PL) at Penn (0-2-2, 0-0-0 Ivy League)
When: Saturday, Sept. 9, 7 p.m.
Where: Rhodes Field, Philadelphia, Pa.
Live Video: PennAthletics.com
Live Stats: Ivy League Network
About the Bison
• Buoyed by a dramatic road win over Rider on Sunday, the Bison now turn their attention to a highly anticipated home game against Tennessee on Thursday evening. Never before in its 28-year history has the Bucknell women's soccer team played a team from the Southeastern Conference, much less hosted an SEC foe. And the Bison will be taking on a Volunteers squad that is red hot, starting the year 6-0 while outscoring opponents 15-1.
• Bucknell has played an extremely demanding schedule thus far, with their four losses coming to Syracuse and No. 12 Duke of the ACC, along with two more top programs in Saint Joseph's and William & Mary. Those four teams are currently a combined 16-5-2, with four of the five losses to ranked opponents. The schedule doesn't get any easier, with Tennessee and Penn coming up before the start of Patriot League play.
• The Bison secured a much-needed victory on Sunday at Rider. Despite big advantages in shots and corner kicks, the Bison trailed the Broncs 1-0 into the 80th minute. But senior co-captain Meghan Holtz provided the equalizer with a wonderful volley from the top of the 18 after Rider had headed away a corner kick. Then in the first overtime period, Holtz lobbed a pass to Brianna Kropinack on the left side of the box, and the Bison freshman calmly waited for the bouncing ball to come down before depositing it in the back of the net for her first career goal. Bucknell finished with a 17-6 shot advantage and a 17-1 margin in corner kicks.
• Holtz has played a holding defensive midfield position for much of her career, and the two-time All-Patriot League selection entered her senior year with one career goal. She now has two already this season in five games to go along with an assist, and she is the team's top scorer with five points. Freshmen Kropinack and Jenna Marek, along with sophomore Bailey Hurst, have accounted for the team's other three goals this season.
• Holtz was named Patriot League Midfielder of the Week and Kropinack Patriot League Rookie of the Week on Monday.
• Sophomore goalkeeper Dani Kaufman is off to a strong start with 34 saves through five games. Her 6.8 saves per game lead the Patriot League.
• Bucknell set team records in wins (16), league wins (8) and win percentage (.850) last season, while posting a program-record 14-game unbeaten streak. The Bison brought back 45 of their 51 goals a season ago, including eight of their top 10 scorers. Bucknell returned seven starters, five of whom made All-Patriot League Teams in 2016.
• The Bison have reached the Patriot League Championship game each of the last two seasons under Kelly Cook, who is in her third year as head coach. She is a two-time Patriot League Coach of the Year and will be joined on the sidelines by David Madsen and Leigh Howard. The trio earned NSCAA Regional Staff of the Year honors in 2016.
• Senior forward Kendall Ham was named to the watch list for MAC Hermann Trophy, given annually to the nation's best player. Ham became Bucknell's first women's soccer All-American last season. She and her twin sister, outside back Jackie Ham, are starters and returning All-Patriot League selections.
Record Book Watch
• Kendall Ham is tied for sixth (with Jennifer Margolis) on Bucknell's career points chart with 67. Next up is Kerry McDonnell with 76.
• Kendall Ham is seventh all-time in goals with 29. She needs one more to catch McDonnell for the No. 6 spot and three more to equal Christa Matlack for fifth all-time.
• Maddie Mulford sits in a four-way tie for seventh place on Bucknell's career assists list. Her next assist will move her into a tie for sixth with Krista Lee Gentile.
Scouting Tennessee/Series History
• This will be the first-ever meeting between the Bison and Volunteers.
• Tennessee is off to a 6-0 start with five shutouts in 2017. The Volunteers have played one other Patriot League team, beating Navy 1-0 in the season opener on Aug. 18.
• Khadija Shaw, this week's SEC Player of the Week, already has six goals in six games this season. She had a hat trick against Belmont, a brace against East Tennessee State, and a single goal against Middle Tennessee. McKinley Burkett has three goals and two assists, while Erin Gilroy and Ariel Kupritz both have a goal and three assists.
• Goalkeeper Shae Yanez has started all six games and has 15 saves with just one goal allowed, that coming in a 6-1 win over ETSU. Yanez, from Downingtown, is the lone Pennsylvanian on the Tennessee roster.
• Tennessee finished 11-9-1 overall and 5-5-1 in the SEC last season. The Vols fell 3-1 to No. 11 Auburn in the SEC Tournament quarterfinals.
Scouting Penn/Series History
• Bucknell is 2-5-3 all-time against Penn, but this will be the first meeting between the two teams since 2005. Bucknell won the inaugural meeting 6-0 in 1991, and the Bison also won 4-1 in 1994. The Quakers have won the last four series clashes.
• Penn opened the season with back-to-back 1-0 losses at home to Lehigh and La Salle, but bounced back on a West Coast trip last weekend to claim a pair of draws against UC Irvine (0-0) and UC Riverside (1-1).
• Erica Higa has the team's lone goal thus far, coming in the 34th minute aganist UCR.
• Kitty Qu has played every minute in goal for Penn and has 14 saves with just three goals allowed.
• Bucknell opens Patriot League play on Saturday, Sept. 16 at Lafayette at 3 p.m.