PHILADELPHIA, Pa. -- Just 48 hours after a hard-fought 1-0 home loss to Tennessee, the Bucknell women's soccer team went on the road and used a 79th-minute goal from freshman Brianna Kropinack to turn back Penn by a 1-0 count on Saturday night at Rhodes Field. Dani Kaufman made four saves to backstop a stout all-around defensive effort, and the Bison secured their first shutout and second victory of the season.
With the start of Patriot League play looming next week, the Bison (2-5) have now won back-to-back away matches and seem well-prepared to begin a title defense after squaring off against a very difficult non-conference schedule. The latest in that gauntlet was a Penn team out of the Ivy League that finished 9-3-4 last season and was well-rested after not having played in six days.
Bucknell was organized defensively in front of Kaufman, and even though the Bison were outshot 14-8 in the contest, they did not concede many dangerous scoring opportunities to the Quakers. Bucknell successfully defended 10 corner kicks, and only four of Penn's 14 shots were on frame.
That hard work paid off with just over 10 minutes of the 90 remaining. Meghan Holtz and Kropinack -- last week's Patriot League Midfielder and Rookie of the Week, respectively -- teamed up again for the deciding goal. Holtz played a ball over the top of the Penn back line, and then Kropinack and a defender jostled for the ball in the box. Kropinack won possession and then chipped a shot over charging goalkeeper Ashley Gabor and into the back of the net. It was the second goal of the season for Kropinack, who potted the game-winner in overtime at Rider last Sunday.
"We had a fantastic defensive effort," said head coach Kelly Cook, who praised her back four of Ali Russo, Karli Cirovski, Maddie Dano and Jackie Ham. "We had some tired legs coming off of the Tennessee game on Thursday, and that didn't enable us to really push forward as much as we would like. We had to dig in and defend, and we found a goal on a fantastic finish from Bri. We got our first shutout of the season, which was definitely a goal of ours."
Bucknell and Penn were meeting for the first time since 2005. The Bison stopped a four-game series losing streak and beat the Quakers for the first time since 1994.
Bucknell starts Patriot League play next Saturday at Lafayette at 3 p.m.