Setting the Scene, Part 1
When: Saturday, Nov. 4, 1 p.m.
What: Bucknell (6-7-4, 4-3-1 PL) at Navy (2-12-2, 0-6-2 PL)
Where: Glenn Warner Soccer Facility
Live Stats: NavySports.com
Live Video: Patriot League Network
About the Bison
• Bucknell has clinched one of the six Patriot League Tournament berths, and now the Bison will look to secure a quarterfinal home game when it travels to Navy on Saturday for the regular-season finale. Bucknell can finish as high as third place or as low as sixth, but it knows that a win at Navy would guarantee a home game on Tuesday night. The third and fourth seeds host quarterfinal games.
• Bucknell is currently in fourth place on 13 points, three behind third-place Lehigh. The Mountain Hawks finish up at Holy Cross. The Bison defeated Lehigh last week, so a win at Navy coupled with a Lehigh loss in Worcester would give Bucknell the tiebreaker for the No. 6 spot. Holy Cross (11) and Colgate (10) currently occupy the fifth and sixth spots, but American (9), Lafayette (9) and Army West Point (8) are all still alive for postseason berths. Navy (2) is the only one of the 10 teams eliminated from playoff contention.
• Despite some injuries, the Bison have played their best soccer of the season over the last two weeks to put themselves in postseason position. Wins over Army (1-0) and Lehigh (2-1) and a scoreless draw with co-leader Boston University on Senior Day last week helped lock up the bid.
• Three Bison earned Patriot League weekly honors on Monday after the 1-0-1 week. Perhaps most notable was sophomore Emmett Witmer, who earned Patriot League Goalkeeper of the Week plaudits after allowing just one goal in 200 minutes, that coming on a deflected shot in the game at Lehigh. Called upon after primary starter Ryan Ott suffered an injury in practice the day before the Lehigh game, Witmer made nine saves in beating the Mountain Hawks, including a number of sensational quick-reaction stops in the second half. Ott then made two saves in an overtime shutout against Boston University. Sophomore center back Quinn Bredin earned Defensive Player of the Week honors, and freshman Matt Thorsheim, who scored both goals against Lehigh, was named Rookie of the Week for the second time this season.
• Fifteen of Bucknell's 17 games this season have either been decided by one goal or a draw, including the last 13 in a row. The only exceptions were a 3-0 loss at Stetson and a 2-0 win over Duquesne back in early September. That is nothing new for this group. Last year, 17 of the team's 21 games were either ties or one-goal margins.
• Thorsheim leads the team in goals (5), assists (4) and points (14). Ne now ranks eighth in the league in goals and ninth in assists and points. Nick King has 10 points from four goals and two assists. Bernie Wright (3) and Ben Derleth (2) are other multi-goal scorers for the Bison.
• This is one of Bucknell's youngest teams in quite some time, with five sophomores and two freshmen in the starting lineup, along with a junior and the team's three seniors.
• Bucknell has a strong 5-2-1 record at home this season, compared to 1-5-3 on the road.
• Brendan Nash is in his 19th season as Bucknell's head coach and his 22nd as a member of the Bison coaching staff. His predecessor, Craig Reynolds, patrolled the sideline for 32 years, meaning Bucknell has had only two men's soccer head coaches over the last 50 years. Nash's 173 wins are second all-time to Reynolds' 238, but Nash's .532 winning percentage is No. 1 in program history. He has guided the Bison to four Patriot League titles in the last 11 years.
Scouting Navy/Series History
• It's been a tough year for the Midshipmen, who are winless (0-6-1) in their last seven games dating back to a 3-0 win over Saint Joseph's on Sept. 26. Navy has a pair of ties in Patriot League play, coming against arch-rival Army (0-0) and Holy Cross (1-1). In their most recent outing, the Midshipmen fell 2-1 at Colgate last Sunday. Navy has been in every game this season, however, as nine of their 12 losses are by one goal, and the other three are by two-goal margins.
• Daniel Zaremba has scored five of the team's 15 goals this season, and the senior has 11 in his career. Aubrey Jones has three goals, and Wyatt Millard and Phillip Gustafson have two each.
• Veteran netminder Mac Burke has played every minute in goal for Navy. He has allowed 25 goals while making 87 saves.
• Bucknell is 13-25-4 all-time against Navy in a series that dates back to 1930. Navy went 19-0-1 in the first 20 meetings, but since then Bucknell has had the upper hand with 13-6-3 series lead. The Bison are unbeaten in their last three meetings with the Midshipmen, winning the last two while also advancing in penalty kicks in the 2014 Patriot League Tournament semifinals. Bucknell would go on to beat Boston University in overtime to win the championship that year.
• In last year's game, also played in Annapolis, Zack Rockmore headed in a Nick King corner kick with 53 seconds left in regulation to help Bucknell steal a 2-1 win. Ericson Bean headed in a Zaremba free kick just over a minute into the second half to get Navy on the board. King tied it in the 72nd minute, setting the stage for Rockmore's dramatics. Emmett Witmer got the start in goal for Bucknell and made two saves.
• Bucknell will be playing in a Patriot League Tournament quarterfinal match next Tuesday evening. The site and opponent are to be determined.