Bison Men's Soccer Continues Playoff Chase Saturday at Army
Oct. 20, 2011
LEWISBURG, Pa. --With three Patriot League games left on the schedule, the Bucknell men's soccer squad (7-6-1, 2-2-0 PL) has plenty of work left to do in order to get into the four-team league tournament next month. The Bison, who have won their last two Patriot League matches, scoring six goals in the process, face a big road test Saturday night at Army.
After absorbing frustrating one-goal home losses to Lehigh and American to start league play, Bucknell has come back to post a 3-2 win at Navy and a 3-0 blanking of Holy Cross to get back to level. With six points in the standings, the Bison enter the weekend in fifth place, but they are just a single point out of second, as Lafayette, Lehigh and Colgate all have seven points on 2-1-1 records. American is a perfect 4-0 in Patriot League play and for now has a commanding five-point cushion at the top of the table.
After a few down years, Army is improving rapidly under second-year coach Russell Payne. The Black Knights are 5-9-0 overall and 1-3-0 in the league, with the PL win coming against Holy Cross on Sept. 24.
Army comes in with a three-game losing streak, but they have all come against tough competition on the road. The Black Knights fell 3-0 at first-place American, 3-2 in overtime to preseason favorite Colgate last weekend, and 2-1 in overtime at No. 19 Iona on Wednesday.
Bucknell is also coming off a mid-week road loss. The Bison fell 1-0 at Adelphi on Tuesday night, conceding a 70th-minute goal in an otherwise evenly played affair.
The Bison continue to be paced offensively by sophomore Mayowa Alli and senior Luke Joyner. Alli, who is actually a starting fullback, leads the Patriot League in scoring with seven goals and 16 points. He was named the PL BRINE Defensive Player of the Week on Monday after scoring the game-winning goal and contributing to a dominating shutout against Holy Cross last Saturday. Joyner ranks fourth in the league in both goals (5) and points (13), setting career highs in both categories.
Joyner also scored in the Holy Cross game, as did junior Josh Plump, who netted his second goal of the year. Junior Brendan Burgdorf, the reigning Patriot League Offensive Player of the Year, is in the midst of a goal-scoring drought, but he did garner his fourth assist of the campaign against the Crusaders.
Senior goalkeeper Tommy Caso has lowered his goals-against average to 1.02, fourth-best in the league. The clean sheet against Holy Cross on Saturday was his fifth of the season.
The Black Knights, who are 3-5-0 at home this season, are led offensively by Josh Koeppe, who has 10 points on four goals and two assists. His 35 shot attempts are nearly twice as many as any of his teammates. Devin Perlee, Trent Brown, Elliott McGilbra and Tanner Robertson all have two goals apiece. Tommy Jaeger leads the team with three assists.
John Marinelli has made all but one start in goal and has 33 saves with 22 goals allowed in 13 appearances.
Last season at Emmitt Field, Bucknell defeated Army 2-1 on a spectacular 48-yard strike from fullback Andrew Powell two minutes into the second half. Plump also scored for the Bison, who finished with a 17-12 shot advantage in a very physical game that featured 32 fouls. Robertson tallied the Army goal in the first half.
Army leads the all-time series, 17-13, however Bucknell has had the better of recent play. The Bison have won 11 of the last 12 after Army had taken a 16-2 series lead. Eight of those Cadets wins came between 1931-43. As Patriot League rivals, the Bison lead 13-9.
In the last meeting at West Point in 2009, coach Brendan Nash earned his 100th career win as the Bison topped Army 3-0. Conor O'Brien (39'), Burgdorf (56') and Tommy McCabe (71') scored the Bison goals, while Caso made three saves en route to the shutout.
Following the Army game, Bucknell returns home next Wednesday, Oct. 26 to face Penn State at Emmitt Field. The contest will air live on Bison Vision at 7 p.m. That will be the final non-league contest of the year, with Colgate and Lafayette on deck to close out the regular season.