WEST POINT, N.Y. – Needing a victory to secure a spot in the Patriot League Tournament, the Bucknell men’s soccer team defeated Army West Point 2-1 on Saturday at Clinton Field. Sebastiaan Blickman and Patrick Mahoney found the back of the net in the first half, as the Bison qualify for the Patriot League Tournament for the fifth consecutive season.
The Bison needed a win over the Black Knights last year in the regular season finale to earn a spot into the tournament. Facing the same scenario this year, Bucknell generated five shots and five corners, as the Bison finish the regular season 7-10-2 overall and 4-4-1 in the Patriot League.
The 13 points proved to be enough to get back into the postseason. Bucknell had to have a victory against Army West Point in the regular season finale, and the Bison will actually end up being the No. 5 seed and travel to No. 4 Boston University for a Patriot League Tournament quarterfinal game on Tuesday night.
Army West Point (9-7-2, 4-4-1 PL) came into the match against Bucknell with a playoff spot already locked up. The Black Knights will be the No. 6 seed and travel to Colgate for a quarterfinal game on Tuesday.
American accumulated 19 points, finishing as the No. 1 overall seed in the six-team tournament. The Eagles and No. 2 Loyola will receive byes into the semifinals.
It didn’t take long for Bucknell to get on the board, scoring 22 seconds into the match. Justin Galiani sent a touch to Austin Lenart, who serviced the ball from the left side into the box for the finish by Blickman, his 10th goal of the season. The score just fell short of Bucknell's fastest goal to start a contest in program history. Dave Domsohn scored 18 seconds into a match against Susquehanna in 1987.
Mahoney helped extend the Bison lead, 43 seconds before halftime. Andrew Leischner sent a free kick from the left side into the box, which deflected off Mahoney into the net.
“The execution on both our goals is something we focused on in our training,” said head coach Brendan Nash.
Army West Point cut the deficit in half in the 82nd minute. Peter Meyer headed in a goal from the middle of the box off a cross from Tanner Vosvick.
Overall, the Black Knights put heavy pressure on the Bison back line in the second half, generating 15 shots and five corners, but Bucknell made enough stops to secure the win. Ryan Ott finished with six saves in the contest, including an important stop in the 88th minute to prevent the equalizer.
“Going into the second half against a quality team on the road, we knew they were going to throw everything at us,” said Nash. “We could bend but not break, and the stats were against us, but the score ended up in our favor. Now we’re off to Boston.”
There will be more soccer left for the Bison as they head to Boston University on Tuesday. Bucknell has proven to be comfortable playing as a lower seed, as the Bison won the Patriot League title in 2014 as the No. 5 seed.