LEWISBURG, Pa. – The Bucknell men’s lacrosse team took No. 7/10 Army West Point right down to the final shot, but the first-place Black Knights held on for an 11-10 victory over the Bison on Saturday at Christy Mathewson-Memorial Stadium. Quinn Collison, one of eight Bison recognized prior to the Senior Day contest, recorded a career-high four goals, and Will Sands produced his third straight five-assist game to lead Bucknell.
Connor Glancy tallied three goals and an assist, and Cole Johnson picked up two goals and two assists for Army, which won its eighth straight game and improved to 9-1 overall and 5-0 in the Patriot League. The Black Knights’ only loss came on Feb. 18 at Rutgers, which has been ranked as high as No. 1 in the nation this season, and they also boast a premier win over then-No. 6 Syracuse.
Bucknell fell to 4-6 overall and 2-4 in the Patriot League. The Bison were trying to beat a top-20 team for the third straight Saturday, after topping No. 15 Boston University and No. 17 Loyola in each of the last two weeks. Bucknell never led in this one and trailed 10-6 late in the third quarter, but a late push fell just short as Reed Malas’ potential game-tying shot went over the bar as time expired.
Army jumped in front 2-0 after just three minutes of play, and then the two teams traded goals throughout most of the first half. Another two-goal run gave the Black Knights a 7-4 halftime lead, and the margin grew to as many as four after a Johnson extra-man tally with 3:36 left in the third quarter.
The Bison EMO unit, which was 3-for-4 on the day, got one back late in the third quarter when Malas scored from distance off a feed from Tommy O'Connor. Sean O'Brien finished from the left alley early in the fourth quarter for his team-leading 26th of the season, and then Connor O'Hara’s EMO goal with 9:24 to play made it a 10-9 game. O’Hara plucked a loose ball out of mid-air and then finished for his 24th of the year.
Army’s Gunnar Miller scored a big insurance goal with 5:49 left, but four minutes later Collison took a feed from Sands and used a dazzling behind-the-back shot to cut the margin back to one at 11-10 with 1:42 to play.
Brad Dotson scooped up the ground ball on the ensuing faceoff, but the Bison turned the ball over with about 20 seconds to play. Bucknell then stole it back near midfield, and with the clock down to the last few seconds, Malas’ contested shot from about 25 yards out sailed high.
The Bison put up 10 goals against an Army team that came in ranked second nationally in scoring defense at 6.4 per game. The only other teams to hit the 10-goal mark on the Black Knights this season were Rutgers (12) and Syracuse (13).
It was another in a long series of one-goal games between these two teams. Of the 24 Bucknell-Army games since 1999, 15 have been decided by a single goal.
Christian Klipstein finished with 11 saves in goal for Bucknell. His brother Reaves started on defense for Army and logged two ground balls and a caused turnover. The eldest Klipstein brother, Ryan, who captained Bucknell’s 2011 Patriot League championship squad, was also in attendance.
Army finished with a slim 35-34 shot advantage. The Black Knights claimed 15 of the 22 faceoffs and led 31-22 in ground balls. Bucknell countered by forcing 15 turnovers while committing only 10 of its own. Matt Gilray led the Bison defense with three caused turnovers.
Sands continues to pile up the assists for the Bison. He has multiple assists in every game this season, and this was his fourth five-assist game of the year. Sands, who jumped back over Loyola's Pat Spencer for the national lead in assists, now has 38 this season, which is third-most in a season in Bucknell history. Only David Dickson (48 in 2013) and Chris Cara (40 in 2004) have had more.
Sands also tied Jon Romm for the No. 5 spot on Bucknell’s career assists chart with 82.
Bucknell has three games remaining in the regular season, all on the road. The Bison have a non-league contest next Saturday at Mount St. Mary’s before finishing out the year with Patriot League games against Lehigh and Lafayette.