LEWISBURG, Pa. – Bucknell field hockey came through in a big way in a pressure-packed situation Saturday, rolling to a 3-0 shutout over visiting Lafayette in a must-win Patriot League game at Graham Field. With the win, the Bison put themselves in great position to make the conference tournament for the ninth consecutive season, improving to 7-8 overall and 2-3 in the conference.
Numerous tiebreaker scenarios still exist, but Bucknell has the edge to get into the league tournament as long as it wins at Colgate in the final conference game on Saturday, Oct. 29. Lafayette, on the other hand, took a major hit to its postseason hopes, falling to 7-8 overall and 2-3 in the league. The Leopards have losses to both Bucknell and Holy Cross, two of the teams it could be matched up with in tiebreakers.
The Bison didn’t play like a team that was nervous about its postseason hopes, dominating the game from start to finish. Stephanie Dressler helped ease the pressure with an early goal, putting her team up 1-0 just 8:39 into the game. Her fifth goal of the season was assisted by freshman Marisa Morakis.
Bucknell’s defense did its part to keep the score 1-0 at the half. The Bison didn’t give up a shot or a penalty corner in the first 35 minutes.
Senior Anna Wills put the Bison up 2-0 with a goal 3:20 into the second half. Her second goal of the season came off a blast from just inside the circle following a penalty corner insert from senior Estelle Palandjian. It was Palandjian’s third assist in the past two games.
Sophomore Nicole Rupnik tacked on an insurance goal with 2:18 left in the game. Freshman Brittany Willwerth set up the score with a nice pass that gave Rupnik a one-on-one matchup with the Lafayette goaltender. It was Rupnik’s team-leading seventh goal of the season and the second assist for Willwerth.
Bucknell junior Emily Finn stopped the only shot she faced to record her fourth shutout of the season. Two of those shutouts have come against league opponents.
The Bison finished the game with lopsided numbers in nearly every category. They held a 15-2 advantage in shots, 10-1 in shots on goal, and 6-2 in penalty corners.
Bucknell will play its home finale when it hosts Lock Haven in a non-conference matchup on Sunday at noon. Emma Fitzgerald, Emily Goodloe, Kelsy Kauffman, Amy Mucelli, Palandjian, Sarah Ross, and Wills will be honored for Senior Day prior to the game.