Sept. 3, 2008
PENN STATE CLASSIC SCHEDULE:
Friday, September 5
No. 10 Ohio State (2-0) vs. Bucknell (1-1) — 5 p.m.
Penn State (1-1) vs. no. 18 Tulsa (1-0-1) — 7:30 p.m.
Sunday, September 7
No. 10 Ohio State vs. No. 18 Tulsa — 12 p.m. (Big Ten Network)
Penn State vs. Bucknell — 3:30 p.m. (Big Ten Network)
Bucknell’s difficult season-opening road trip continues this weekend against a pair of Big Ten foes at the Penn State Classic. The Bison will take on 10th-ranked Ohio State on Friday evening at 5 p.m., then on Sunday afternoon they will square off against the host Nittany Lions in a game televised live on the Big Ten Network. Bucknell is coming off a 1-1 showing in the city of Buffalo during an opening weekend that was marked by plenty of offense. After a tough 2-1 loss to Buffalo last Friday in which the winning goal was scored with only 3:13 to play, the Orange & Blue won a wild 5-4 decision at Canisius on Sunday afternoon. Junior Chris Hennings played a starring role in the win, scoring the team’s final four goals of the day, including the tiebreaking tally with 4:28 remaining.
Bucknell vs. Ohio State
This will be the very first meeting between the Bison and Buckeyes in men’s soccer.
Bucknell vs. Penn State
The Bison have not enjoyed much success against Penn State through the years. The two teams first met in 1930, and since then, the Nittany Lions have a 57-6-3 record in the series. Penn State has won the last 25 head-to-head meetings in a row, dating back to Bucknell’s last win, a 2-0 decision in Lewisburg on Oct. 14, 1975. Bucknell’s last point in State College was a 1-1 tie in 1974, and its last victory there was all the way back in 1968 (2-1).
Bucknell vs. The Big Ten
Besides Penn State, Bucknell has only played one other member of the Big Ten. Last season in Evanston, Ill., the Bison dropped a 2-1 overtime decision at Northwestern.
Bucknell’s opening weekend was anything but ordinary, as the Bison played two games in which the winning goal was scored with less than five minutes left in regulation. On Friday at Buffalo, Mark Schmiegel’s goal in the 54th minute pulled Bucknell into a 1-1 tie, but the Bulls won it with just 3:13 remaining, when Dominic Oppong knocked in a rebound on a flurry after a corner kick.
Then on Sunday it was the Chris Hennings Show at Canisius, as the Bucknell junior had a rare four-goal game. The Bison needed every one of them, too, in a crazy 5-4 victory over the Golden Griffins. Hennings completed his hat trick in the 77th minute, giving Bucknell a seemingly commanding 4-1 lead. But remarkably, Canisius came alive with a three-goal flurry in a span of only 4:59, and it was a 4-4 game in the 83rd minute. But just over three minutes later, Hennings came to the rescue, blasting one in from the top of the box with just 4:28 to play.
Bison Break Scoring Streak Record
Bucknell has now scored a goal in 17 straight games dating back to last season, a new school record. The previous record was 15 games, set in 1949-50, 1954-55 and 1972-73. During the current 17-game streak, Bucknell has a 10-4-3 record and has outscored foes 31-18. The last time the Bison were shut out was Sept. 11, 2007 by Binghamton (1-0).
More on Hennings
Hennings entered the game with one goal and two assists in his career.
The four goals tied Bucknell and Patriot League records for goals in a game. Hennings became only the fifth player in the 79-year history of Bucknell men’s soccer to net four goals in a game, and he was the first since Glenn Mars accomplished the feat in a 1969 game against Gettysburg. Art Raynor (1948 vs. Delaware), Lyman Ott (1961 vs. Muhlenburg) and Bill Dahl (1962 vs. Lafayette) are the only other Bison to ever record four goals in a match.
He is also just the third player in Patriot League history to score four goals in a game, joining Jon Cook of Colgate (2003) and Andrew Mittendorf of Lehigh (1998).
Hennings scored four goals despite not starting the game. He came on at the 20-minute mark.
After the performance, Hennings was named the Patriot League Offensive Player of the Week and the Damon’s Bison Athlete of the Week.
Some additional notes on Chris Hennings’ four-goal game last Sunday:
Five to Win
Sunday’s victory over Canisius marked the first time since a 5-4 overtime win over Saint Francis (Pa.) on Sept. 15, 1999 that the Bison won a match when allowing four goals. It was the team’s highest-scoring game since a 6-3 win over Philadelphia in 2003.
The Bison on TV
This will be the second year in a row the Bucknell men’s soccer team has had one of its games televised. Last November, Bucknell’s 3-1 win over Patriot League rival Lehigh was aired on the Fox Soccer Channel. Still to come this season are two live Webcasts on Bison Vision, via BucknellBison.com. The Sept. 27 Navy match and the Oct. 22 contest against St. Peter’s will air live on the Web.
Success Against Ranked Teams
Bucknell has enjoyed some success against nationally ranked teams in recent years. In the 2006 Patriot League Tournament semifinals, the Bison knocked off No. 14 Lehigh in penalty kicks, then went on to win the tournament and defeat George Mason 1-0 in OT in the first round of the NCAA Tournament. Bucknell also played No. 24 Colgate to a 1-1 tie in 2006. In 2005, Bucknell defeated two ranked teams: No. 18 James Madison (1-0) and No. 19 Binghamton (1-0), and in 2003, the Bison registered their best win in program history, a 1-0 road win against No. 2 Maryland.
A Closer Look at the Bison
On paper, with seven returning starters and 17 returning lettermen, it may seem as if Bucknell’s lineup is coming back mainly intact in 2008 after a solid 9-5-5 season a year ago. But the 2007 senior class was a formidable one, with seven players accounting for more than 300 combined starts, not to mention the clear leadership roles on the team. So this year’s Bucknell side is loaded with former role players stepping into key positions, and even a couple of freshmen in key starting assignments. Veterans such as Hermann Trophy candidate Conor O’Brien, Mark Schmiegel, Anthony Ferraro and Chris Hennings will be counted on for scoring punch, with junior co-captain Patrick Selwood, seniors Matt Hittson, Dirk Swaneveld and Jason Soto, and sophomore Ross Liberati bringing experience in the back.
O’Brien Named to Hermann Trophy Watch List
Co-captain Conor O’Brien has been included on the Missouri Athletic Club’s Hermann Trophy Watch List. A total of 48 players were named to the list and O’Brien was one of just two Patriot League players mentioned, along with Lehigh’s Kyle Evans.
The Hermann Trophy is considered one of the highest individual honors in intercollegiate soccer. The recipient of the trophy is selected by Division I head coaches who are members of the National Soccer Coaches Association of America. A list of 15 semifinalists will be selected by a coaches committee in November, with the finalists announced in early December. They will be invited to a January news conference at the Missouri Athletic Club in St. Louis, Mo., where the winner will be announced.
O’Brien, who was a Second Team All-Patriot League selection and an NSCAA Mid-Atlantic All-Region Second Team choice last year, led Bucknell with seven goals and 19 points in 2007. His five assists were tied for first on the squad with Justin Wolf. O’Brien’s goal total was the most by a Bison since Scott Visnic netted 12 in 2003. O’Brien tallied five goals over the final six games of the regular season, and he assisted on Mark Schmiegel’s goal in the PL Tournament semifinals against Colgate.
O’Brien eight career goals and nine career assists for 25 career points. He has started all 44 matches since setting foot on campus before the 2006 season.
Sophomore center back Ross Liberati and freshman central midfielder Luke Joyner both stand 6’5”, giving Bucknell’s starting lineup a height presence. Liberati has four career goals, all of them coming on headers, and the rookie Joyner has had a number of chances in the air thus far as well.
Bison Fortunate to Land Joyner
Bucknell freshman midfielder Luke Joyner was initially a scholarship member of Western Kentucky’s recruiting class, but when the Hilltoppers dropped their men’s soccer program in February, Joyner chose Bucknell to continue his soccer career. The talented native of Dallas, Texas, quickly won a starting job with the Bison and played well in his first two games last week.
Sawtarie Recognized in College Soccer News
College Soccer News’ annual list of “100 Freshmen to Keep an Eye On” included Bucknell rookie defender Nader Sawtarie. The Bethany, W. Va., native was a three-time all-state selection and the West Virginia Gatorade Player of the Year.
Three Bison Win National Club Titles Over the Summer
Two first-year players from the state of Maryland — goalkeeper Tommy Caso and midfielder Brendan Klebanoff — helped the Baltimore Bays to the U.S. Soccer Development Academy U-17/18 title. In the championship game in Carson, Calif., the Bays defeated LAFC 4-2.
Freshman Luke Joyner was also part of a national championship in July, when his Andromeda 90 club defeated Ryan Sappington’s Shattuck-St. Mary’s side 3-0 in the U-18 final at the 2008 U.S. Youth Soccer National Championships in Little Rock Arkansas. It was the second straight national title for Andromeda 90, of North Texas.
Caso Has Big Gloves to Fill
Freshman Tommy Caso won the starting goalkeeper job with a strong preseason. Caso has the unenviable task of replacing 2007 Patriot League Goalkeeper of the Year and First Team All-Patriot Leaguer Joey Kuterbach. Kuterbach had a 0.76 goals-against average and a career-best .837 save percentage last year, in addition to a career-high eight shutouts, which tied him for the Patriot League lead. A third-team all-region selection in 2006 and a second-team all-region choice in 2007, Kuterbach wrapped up his career with 18 shutouts to rank tied for fourth on the Bucknell career list. Caso has made nine saves and allowed six goals in his first two career appearances.
Senior Mark Schmiegel and juniors Conor O’Brien and Patrick Selwood were elected team captains prior to the season. It is the second time in the last three years that Bucknell has had two junior captains.
Success Under Nash
Brendan Nash is now in his 10th season as Bucknell’s head coach, and his career record now stands at 82-69-25 (.537). Nash owns the highest winning percentage in program history, and he ranks second to Craig Reynolds (238 wins in 32 years) in total wins. Nash is a 1994 graduate of Trenton State (now College of New Jersey), where he was a member of the soccer team that played in the 1991 Division III national title game. Nash has led Bucknell to the Patriot League Tournament in four of the last five years and won a league title in 2006.
Senior Mark Schmiegel and junior Conor O’Brien have started every game in their respective careers. Coming into the Penn State Classic, Schmiegel has 62 career starts under his belt, while O’Brien has 44.
Bucknell finally makes its home debut next weekend at its annual tournament, the Days Inn Classic. The Bison will take on Cornell on Friday and Hartwick on Sunday. New Hampshire will also be participating in the event. Seven of Bucknell’s first nine games of the season take place on the road.