BALTIMORE, Md. – The Bucknell women’s lacrosse team is headed back to the postseason for the second straight year. The Bison saw their three-game winning streak come to an end on Wednesday night with a 15-8 setback at first-place Loyola at Ridley Athletic Center, but other results around the league clinched the Patriot League Tournament berth.
Senior Courtney Burke recorded her first career hat trick as part of a four-point night for the Bison, who fell to 9-5 overall and 4-3 in the Patriot League. Now 34-0 in conference play since joining the Patriot League, Loyola (8-7, 7-0 PL) received five goals from Cami Whiteford, all in the first half as the Greyhounds took a 9-3 lead after 30 minutes.
Bucknell fell into a tie for fifth place in the Patriot League alongside Boston University. The top six teams qualify for the Patriot League Tournament. The bottom four teams in the standings – Colgate, Holy Cross, American and Army -- are all now 1-6, meaning the Bison have a three-game lead over their closest pursuers with only two games remaining.
Despite falling behind in the first half, the Bison held their own in a number of areas against the league leaders. Most notably, they led 17-7 in draw controls against one of the nation’s most effective teams in the circle. Maddy Molinari came up with a game-high six draw controls, Erika Stube had four and Mary Margaret Kenney three. Loyola’s Taylor VanThof, who came in ranked second nationally in draw controls at better than eight per game, was held to three in this one.
Bucknell also forced 18 turnovers and trailed by just a narrow 28-26 margin on the shot board. Molinari pitched in offensively with two goals and an assist. Becca Golding also scored twice, while Christina Manis added one goal and one assist. Katherine Doyle picked up a team-high five ground balls.
Burke continued her breakout senior campaign. She entered the year with four career goals but now has 14 this season. She had four two-goal games earlier in the year, and now she adds a hat trick to her resume.
Loyola scored twice in the first five minutes of the game to go up 2-0, but Bucknell’s deficit was just one at 3-2 after Burke’s first goal of the night at the 20:50 mark. The Greyhounds then took control with a five-goal run over a 10-minute span later in the half.
Bucknell outscored Loyola 4-2 during a strong 20-minute stretch of the second half, but the Greyhounds stretched the final margin back to seven with a couple of late goals, the last coming on a free-position shot with two seconds remaining.
Bucknell might have been closer were it not for 14 saves – seven in each half – from Loyola goalie Kady Glynn.
Loyola maintained its one-game lead over Navy atop the Patriot League standings. The Bison will be in Annapolis to take on the Mids on Saturday at 1 p.m.