LEWISBURG, Pa. -- Last week was a critical one for the Bucknell men's soccer team, as the Bison picked up a win and a tie against teams ahead of them in the standings to lock up a Patriot League Tournament berth for the sixth year in a row. On Monday, three Bison who played key roles in those matches received Corvias Patriot League Player of the Week Awards. Sophomore Quinn Bredin was named Defensive Player of the Week, sophomore Emmett Witmer was selected as the Goalkeeper of the Week, and freshman Matt Thorsheim was named Rookie of the Week.
Bucknell secured three big points with a 2-1 road victory over third-place Lehigh last Wednesday. Thorsheim stunned the Mountain Hawks with goals in the third and 12th minutes of the match to stake the Bison to a quick 2-0 lead. Those were his fourth and fifth goals of the season, giving Thorsheim the team lead in both goals and points (14). Thorsheim suffered an injury early in the second half of that game, and he did not play in Saturday's 0-0 home draw with Boston University.
This is Thorsheim's second Rookie of the Week honor of the season.
After starting 10 games as a freshman last season, Witmer has been the primary backup to Ryan Ott in 2017. When Ott suffered an injury in practice the day before the Lehigh game last week, Witmer was ready to answer the call. He made nine saves the next night at Lehigh, including a number of close-range reaction saves in the second half as the Mountain Hawks threw waves of pressure at the Bison defense looking for an equalizer. Witmer faced 14 second-half shots, made five saves, and did not allow a goal.
Then on Saturday against Boston University, he pitched a 110-minute shutout in the scoreless deadlock against the Patriot League co-leaders. Witmer now has 17 saves with only four goals allowed in five appearances this season.
Bredin, in his second year as a starting center back for the Bison, was another big factor in the team's success last week. Bucknell conceded only one goal in 200 minutes, that coming on a shot that took an unlucky bounce of the leg of a defender and into the back of the net. Bredin was on the field for all 200 of those minutes and helped keep Patriot League scoring leader Mark Forrest off the scoresheet in the Lehigh game. In fact, Bredin has played every minute of every game this season.
Bucknell is 6-7-4 overall and 4-3-1 in the Patriot League with on game remaining in the regular season. The Bison are assured of one of the six Patriot League Tournament berths, but they are looking to remain in position to host a quarterfinal game at Emmitt Field. The top two seeds receive byes into the semifinals, while seeds 3 and 4 host quarterfinal games. Bucknell is currently alone in fourth place with 13 points, three in back of third-place Lehigh, but only two in front of fifth-place Holy Cross and three in front of sixth-place Colgate.
The Bison play at Navy on Saturday at 1 p.m.