Bucknell Men's Soccer Hosts First-Place Navy Saturday on Bison Vision
Oct. 4, 2012
LEWISBURG, Pa. --If the first two rounds of Patriot League men's soccer play are any indication, there is going to be another wild playoff chase in the Patriot League in 2012. Entering a weekend full of league action, the top six teams in the table are separated by just one point, and the top seven are just three points apart. The two teams with the league's best overall records, 5-2-2 Navy and 5-3-2 Bucknell, meet on Saturday at 2 p.m. at Emmitt Field in a game that will be webcast live on Bison Vision.
Navy, American and Colgate all sit atop the Patriot League standings with 1-0-1 records and four points. Bucknell, Holy Cross and Lafayette all have three points at 1-1-0. Army has a point with an 0-1-1 mark, and even Lehigh at 0-2 is far from being out of the race. In addition to the Bucknell-Navy matchup in Lewisburg, Holy Cross travels to Colgate, Lafayette visits Lehigh, and American travels to Army on Saturday.
Bucknell is looking to get its offense going again. After scoring 17 goals in its first seven games of the year, the Bison have just one goal in their last three outings. Last week they suffered a pair of 1-0 setbacks against Saint Joseph's and American, despite significant shot advantages in each game. This is the first time the Bison have been kept off the scoreboard in consecutive games in more than five years, when they played a 0-0 tie with Duquesne followed by a 1-0 loss to Binghamton early in the 2007 season.
Bucknell's 18 goals this season are spread among 12 different players. Brendan Burgdorf, Jesse Klug, Mayowa Alli, Conor Keeley and Joe Meyer all have two goals. Burgdorf also has three assists and leads the team with seven points. Chris Thorsheim, one of four freshmen in the starting lineup, leads the squad with four assists.
Rookie goalkeeper Mike Lansing has continued his outstanding work. Lansing leads the Patriot League in goals-against average (0.73), save percentage (.868), saves per game (5.1) and shutouts (3).
Last time out at American, the Bison limited the Eagles to four total shots in 90 minutes, but AU sneaked one in, and despite hitting the goalpost three different times, Bucknell could not score.
Meanwhile Navy has enjoyed an outstanding season so far and brings a six-game unbeaten streak into Saturday's game. The Midshipmen are coming off a 1-1 draw with arch-rival Army at PPL Park, the home of the Philadelphia Union. Prior to that game, they had rattled off consecutive wins over Richmond (5-0), No. 20 George Mason (2-1 2OT), Lafayette (4-2) and Pittsburgh (3-1) by a combined margin of 14-4. They also have a 1-1 tie with Delaware in that unbeaten stretch.
Joseph Greenspan and Alex Wilson have paced the Navy offense so far. Both players have 10 points on three goals and four assists. Nick Dubee, Grant Valenstein and Derek Vogel have two goals each, while Thomas Shiiba has three assists.
Navy has outscored opponents 18-12 on the season. Gavin Snyder has started every game in goal and has 25 saves for a .676 save percentage and 1.31 GAA.
Bucknell brings a six-game winning streak and 10-game unbeaten streak against the Midshipmen into Saturday's game. Navy last defeated Bucknell in 2001 (2-1 OT), and the Mids' last victory in Lewisburg came back in 1998 (2-0). Even though Bucknell is 9-0-1 in the last 10 meetings, Navy leads the all-time series 23-10-2 dating back to 1930.
In last season's meeting, Bucknell pulled out a 3-2 win in Annapolis behind the first career goal from Jonathan Grad and two from Luke Joyner. Dubee erased a 1-0 Bison lead with a goal in the 52nd minute, but just 50 seconds later Grad was taken down in the box, and Joyner converted the penalty kick to give Bucknell a 2-1 advantage. Seven minutes after that Grad scored off a feed from Burgdorf to make it 3-1. Navy's David Jackson scored on a penalty kick in the 74th minute to bring the Midshipmen within 3-2, but the Bison were able to hold on for the win.
Following the Navy game, the Bison will be home again on Wednesday against Hartwick for a non-league game at 7 p.m. Bucknell's next Patriot League game will be Oct. 13 at Holy Cross.