Nov. 18, 2009
WHAT: Bucknell (16-5-0) vs. Princeton (9-5-3)Complete Tournament Notes in PDF Format
WHERE: Myslik Field at Roberts Stadium
WHEN: Thursday, Nov. 19, 7 p.m.
RADIO: WVBU 90.5 FM and SportsJuice.com
VIDEO WEBCAST: GoPrincetonTigers.com (free)
LIVE STATISTICS: GameTracker
TICKETS: $10 adults/$7 children and students
LEWISBURG, Pa. -- The Bucknell men's soccer team is back in the NCAA Tournament for the second time in the last four years and for the fifth time in program history. The Bison punched their ticket into the 48-team field by winning the Patriot League Tournament over the weekend. With a school-record 16 victories, the third-highest total in the nation, Bucknell was in contention for a first-round home game, but instead was sent on the road to play Princeton, one of the top teams out of the talent-rich Ivy League. Bucknell has been well-balanced this season, producing a league-high (and school-record) 11 shutouts while also extending its national-best scoring streak to 26 games. Princeton finished third in the Ivy League behind Harvard and Brown, while fourth-place Dartmouth also received an at-large bid. The Bucknell-Princeton winner will meet national No. 2 seed Virginia in the second round on Sunday.
Bucknell in the NCAA Tournament
Bucknell has made four previous trips to the NCAA Tournament and is 2-4 all-time in tournament play.
1974: Bucknell brought an 11-0-2 record into its first NCAA Tournament appearance. The Bison won at Penn State 1-0 in the first round, then lost at Philadelphia Textile 1-0 in double overtime in the second stage.
1975: In Teaneck, N.J., Bucknell and Fairleigh Dickinson played to a scoreless tie in the first round of the NCAA Tournament, but FDU prevailed on penalty kicks, 7-6.
1976: Back in the tournament for the third year in a row, Bucknell fell 4-0 at Temple in the opening round.
2006: The Bison captured the Patriot League title by defeating both Lehigh and Lafayette in penalty kicks, earning their first NCAA bid in 30 years. Bucknell won at George Mason 1-0 in overtime on a golden goal by Mark Schmiegel, then fell 4-0 in the second round to No. 4 seed Virginia.
Current Bucknell senior co-captains Conor O'Brien and Patrick Selwood were both in the starting lineup for the NCAA Tournament games against George Mason and Virginia in 2006. Although he was not officially credited with an assist, O'Brien was involved in the passing combination that led to the overtime goal in the first-round win over George Mason. Seniors Will Byrne, Sean King and Alex Meisel were also freshmen on the roster that year but did not appear in the tournament.
Bucknell vs. Princeton
Princeton has been playing varsity soccer since 1906 and Bucknell since 1929, yet this will be only the third all-time meeting between the two teams.
The two previous encounters came in a home-and-home series in 2005 and 2006. The Bison won the first meeting on Princeton's home field, 1-0, but the Tigers returned the favor the following season, winning 1-0 in Lewisburg.
In the 2006 meeting, Conor O'Brien started, while Sean King and Patrick Selwood played as reserves. For Princeton, current seniors Ben Harms, Devin Muntz and Danny Steiner started against the Bison, while Max Hare came off the bench.
Princeton will be making its eighth NCAA Tournament appearance and its first since 2001.
The Tigers are 9-5-3 overall and 4-2-1 in the Ivy League. Princeton comes into the NCAA Tournament toting a seven-game unbeaten streak (5-0-2), during which time it has outscored its opponents 17-4. The Tigers have not lost since Oct. 10, 4-2 at Brown.
Most recently, Princeton throttled Yale 4-0 on Friday night in a game televised on Fox Soccer Channel. Sophomore Antoine Hoppenot recorded a hat trick in that game, giving him a team-high 10 goals on the season.
Hoppenot, a Princeton native, has a team-high 22 points, while Josh Walburn (6-5-17) and Matt Sanner (4-5-13) also have double-digit points. Brandon Busch (3), Ben Harms (2) and Lester Nare (2) are multiple-goal scorers.
The Tigers have outscored their opponents 32-20 on the season. Princeton has scored multiple goals 10 times and has been shut out only twice. Conversely, the Tigers have allowed multiple goals four times, but three of those came against NCAA Tournament teams.
The Tigers played three Patriot League teams during the regular season, winning them all by shutout. Princeton defeated Lehigh (1-0), American (3-0) and Colgate (3-0).
The Road to the Championship
Bucknell's second Patriot League championship did not come without some tense moments:
The Bison entered the final weekend of Patriot League play with a two-point lead over American at the top of the table. Bucknell lost in overtime to Lehigh, however, on a Friday night, meaning that the Eagles could have taken the regular-season title with a win at home against Colgate the following day. But Colgate came up big for the Bison, defeating AU to help Bucknell clinch the No. 1 seed and home-field advantage for the Patriot League Tournament with a 5-2 record.
In the Patriot League Tournament semifinals at Emmitt Field, Bucknell and No. 4 Lafayette engaged in a scoreless duel for 90 minutes, but five minutes into overtime Patriot League Offensive Player of the Year Conor O'Brien scored the golden goal to send the Bison into the championship match.
American, which had outlasted Lehigh a night earlier in penalty kicks, was Bucknell's opponent for the final, and the Bison came in with revenge on their minds after taking a staggering 3-1 home loss to the Eagles earlier in the year. Bucknell was much sharper this time around, and freshman Brendan Burgdorf's goal in the 15th minute was all the Bison would need. They limited AU to only three shots on frame and won the match 1-0.
Senior defender Patrick Selwood was named Tournament MVP after leading the team to two straight 1-0 wins, while O'Brien, Burgdorf and Ross Liberati were also All-Tournament picks.
Bucknell Breaks Program Wins Record ...
The Oct. 30 win over Lafayette was Bucknell's 14th of the season, breaking the program record for wins in a season. The Bison have since upped that total to 16 after winning twice in the Patriot League Tournament. The 2002 team held the previous mark of 13 (13-5-1).
Bucknell has reached double figures in the victory column for the 11th time in program history.
Only the 2009 (16), 2002 (13), 1974 (12), 1982 (12) and 1990 (12) teams have won more than 11 games.
Earlier in the season the Bison had a six-game winning streak, their longest since 1983. The streak was snapped by Penn State on Oct. 21.
... And Ties Patriot League Wins Mark
Bucknell's 16 victories are tied for the most in Patriot League history.
Most Total Wins, Patriot League History:
1. Bucknell 2009 16-5-0
Lafayette 1998 16-5-0
3. Lehigh 2006 15-2-3
4. American 2004 15-6-2
5. 10 times 13 wins
Bucknell was rewarded for its regular-season title with strong representation on the All-Patriot League Team. The Bison placed a league-high six players on the all-league squad and also had two major award winners.
Conor O'Brien was named the Patriot League Offensive Player of the Year for the second straight year, making him the fourth repeat winner in league history. Lehigh's Andrew Mittendorf (1997-98) and Evan Bruno (2000, 2002) and Holy Cross' Matt Ney (2001-02) also won the award more than once.
Brendan Nash was named the Patriot League Coach of the Year for the third time. He also won the award in 2000 and 2003.
O'Brien, Patrick Selwood and Ross Liberati were named to the All-Patriot League First Team. It is O'Brien's third all-conference honor, Selwood's second and Liberati's first.
Representing Bucknell on the All-Patriot League Second Team were Sean King, Andrew Powell and Tommy Caso. It was the first all-conference selection for each.
The six all-league picks were Bucknell's second-most since joining the Patriot League in 1990. The 2003 team had seven, while the 1993 squad also had six.
The Bison men's soccer team was also well-represented on the ESPN The Magazine Academic All-District Team. Bucknell placed a district-high three student-athletes on the team for the second year in a row: Patrick Selwood, Sean King and Tommy Caso. Selwood and King were First Team honorees, and Selwood went on to earn national Second Team Academic All-America recognition.
Bison Stellar on Both Offense and Defense
Bucknell leads the Patriot League in both scoring offense (1.57 goals per game) and goals-against average (0.79). Bucknell's 11 shutouts are tied with Lafayette for the most in the league.
Not Good for the Fingernails
Bucknell has 11 shutouts in 2009, nine of which have come by 1-0 scores. Thirteen of the team's 16 victories this season have come by one goal.
Bucknell is 6-1 in true road games and 8-1 away from home (including two neutral site games) in 2009. This coming just one year after the Bison went 3-7-1 on the road. The eight away/neutral site wins are a program record, while the record for most true road wins in a season is seven, set in 2003.
Bison Rarely Blanked
On Oct. 28, 2008, Bucknell suffered a 1-0 loss to eventual Patriot League champion Colgate. That ended a run of 28 straight games with a goal, the longest such streak in Division I soccer at the time. The Bison immediately started a new national-best streak. Since that Colgate game, they have scored in 26 games in a row, including all 21 this season. That is the longest active streak in the nation. The Bison have scored at least once in 54 of their last 55 games dating back to the 2007 season.
Most Consecutive Games with a Goal, Division I:
1. Bucknell 26
2. Green Bay 21
3. Akron 20
4. Tulsa 16
5. Boston U. 12
6. Liberty 11
7. Princeton 10
Rhode Island 10
William & Mary 10
Sacramento State 10
Bucknell Eclipses School Shutout Record With two more clean sheets in the Patriot League Tournament, Bucknell has broken the school record with 11 shutouts this season. The previous record was 10, which was done four times.
Most Shutouts, Season:
1. 2009 11
2. 1974 10
6. 2003 9
Caso in Cage
Sophomore Tommy Caso is a three-time Patriot League Goalkeeper of the Week in 2009, and he recently earned Second Team All-Patriot League honors. Earlier in the year Caso was named the Garth Stam Defensive Most Valuable Player at the Mayor's Cup. Caso has given up only 16 goals in 19 games for a 0.86 goals-against average, the second-best mark in the Patriot League.
Caso Nearing Individual Shutout Mark
Sophomore goalkeeper Tommy Caso now has nine individual shutouts this season, which is one shy of the Bucknell single-season record.
Most Shutouts, Season:
1. Mark Wrigley 10 1993
Adam Edwards 10 2002
3. Tommy Caso 9 2009
Ted Peterson 9 1974
Ted Peterson 9 1975
Adam Edwards 9 2005
7. Adam Edwards 8 2003
Joey Kuterbach 8 2006
Joey Kuterbach 8 2007
In something of a rarity, Bucknell has had three different goalkeepers post shutouts this season. Starter Tommy Caso has nine, while Will Byrne (NJIT) and Marc Hartmann (Saint Francis) recorded clean sheets in spot starts.
Brendan Nash Nets 100th Win
Bison head coach Brendan Nash is in his 11th season at Bucknell, and he recorded his 100th career victory with a 3-0 result at Army on Oct. 17. Nash is currently 105-81-28, and he ranks No. 2 on Bucknell's all-time wins list , trailing only Craig Reynolds (238). Nash was named the Patriot League Coach of the Year in 2000, 2003 and 2009, and he led the Bison to the 2006 and 2009 Patriot League titles.
Bucknell has had only two head coaches since 1967. Craig Reynolds had the reins from 1967-98, and when Reynolds retired following the 1998 season, he turned the playbook over to his assistant coach Brendan Nash, who has manned the Bison sideline ever since.
The Oct. 10, 1-0 win over Holy Cross came in the 1,000th game in program history. The Bison are now 445-469-95 all-time, dating back to the program's inception in 1929.
Keep an Eye on O'Brien
Bucknell senior Conor O'Brien was named the Patriot League Offensive Player of the Year in both 2008 and 2009. Here are some season and career highlights for O'Brien:
O'Brien in 2009:
Only the fourth player in league history to repeat as Patriot League Offensive Player of the Year. Also a First Team All-Patriot League selection.
First Team All-Patriot League and Patriot League All-Tournament picks.
Named to the Missouri Athletic Club Hermann Trophy Watch List prior to the season. It was his second straight year on the Watch List.
Leads the Patriot League in goals (11), assists (8) and points (30).
Has a league-high seven game-winning goals. Scored the lone goal in four of Bucknell's nine 1-0 wins, including the OT goal against Lafayette in the Patriot League Tournament semifinals.
Has two-goal games against La Salle and St. Peter's and a two-assist game against Vermont.
Had his school-record points streak snapped at 11 games on Sept. 23 against Saint Francis (Pa.). Currently has a point in 21 of his last 26 games, including 16 of 21 games this season.
Patriot League Offensive Player of Week on Sept. 6.
O'Brien in His Career:
2008, 2009 Patriot League Offensive Player of Year.
2008, 2009 First Team All-Patriot League; 2007 Second Team All-Patriot League.
2007 and 2008 Second Team NSCAA/adidas All-Mid-Atlantic Team.
Only Dave Domsohn (1985-88) has had more assists (34) than O'Brien in a Bucknell uniform.
Is the highest-scoring Bucknell player in the last 20 years.
O'Brien On Bucknell Charts:
Goals, Season: 11 (2009), 11th
Goals, Career: 26, 9th
Assists, Season: 8 (2008, 2009), T7th
Assists, Career: 24, 2nd
Points, Season: 30 (2009), 8th
Points, Career: 76, 6th
O'Brien in Rare Company
Conor O'Brien is currently one of only two Division I players in the nation leading his conference in both goals per game and assists per game. The other is Charlie Reiter (12-8-32) for Davidson of the Southern Conference.
Selwood a Rock on "D"
Senior co-captain Patrick Selwood has developed into one of the Patriot League's steadiest defenders and was a candidate for the league's defensive player of the year award this season. Some of Selwood's career highlights:
2009 First Team All-Patriot League.
2009 Patriot League Tournament MVP.
2008 Second Team All-Patriot League.
2008 Days' Inn Classic MVP.
2009 ESPN The Magazine Academic All-America Second Team
2008, 2009 ESPN The Magazine Academic All-District and 2008 NSCAA Scholar All-East Team.
Has 62 career starts, including 39 of 40 since the start of last season. The only game he has missed in the last two seasons was the Lafayette game three weeks ago due to the flu.
Same Captains in 2009
Bucknell's 2009 co-captains -- senior midfielder/forward Conor O'Brien and senior defender Patrick Selwood -- were also co-captains as juniors in 2008.
Owning the Second Half
Bucknell has outscored opponents 22-8 in the second half of games this season, including 16-1 in its 16 victories.
Seniors are No. 1
Bucknell's senior class -- Will Byrne, Sean King, Alex Meisel, Conor O'Brien and Patrick Selwood -- now has more wins than any other class in program history. That group has been a part of 42 victories over the last four seasons. The previous school record for wins by one class was 41, set by the Class of 1976, which featured All-American Scott Strasburg, one of the best players in program history.
Burgdorf High on Freshman Scoring List
Brendan Burgdorf's game-winning goal against American in the Patriot League championship match was his eighth of the season. That is not only the most by a Patriot League freshman this season, but it is tied for the third-highest total ever by a Bucknell freshman.
Most Goals by a Bucknell Freshman:
1. Dave Domsohn 18 1985
2. Scott Strasburg 9 1973
3. Scott Gilroy 8 1996
Brendan Burgdorf 8 2009
5. Alex Kogan 6 1990
Greg Beatty 6 1991
Nathan LaGrave 6 2006
8. Bruce Strasburg 5 1971
Mark Brotherton 5 1979
Over the summer, Bucknell's 2009 freshman class was ranked No. 30 in the nation by College Soccer News, and a number of those newcomers have played prominent roles.
The most visible freshman has been forward Brendan Burgdorf, who has started every game at forward and has eight goals and two assists for 18 points. His goal and point totals are tops among Patriot League freshmen.
Accra, Ghana native CK Kumah has played in all 21 games, starting 19, and he scored game-winning goals in back-to-back wins over Holy Cross and Marquette. Kumah also scored against Penn State and has four tallies on the season.
Jermaine Jarrett missed three games due to illness, but otherwise has been a regular on the back line.
Last year's New Jersey Player of the Year, Josh Plump, has started two games up front, and has been a prominent sub in all other games. He has two goals and three assists for seven total points.
Backed by 1-0 wins over Hartwick and Syracuse, Bucknell won the Mayor's Cup earlier this season in Oneonta, N.Y. That was the team's third regular-season tournament title in the last two seasons. A year ago, the Bison defeated Penn State (2-0) and tied No. 10 Ohio State (1-1) to claim the Penn State Classic, and they also won their own Days' Inn Bison Classic with a win over Cornell (3-0) and a draw with Hartwick (2-2).
First-Time Starters on Defense
Bucknell has three first-year starters on the back line, and all three have been rock solid. On the outside, junior Travis Rand and sophomore Andrew Powell have been starters since day one. Running alongside senior co-captain Patrick Selwood at center back has been freshman Jermaine Jarrett, a native of Kingston, Jamaica. The emergence of the three new starters has allowed coach Brendan Nash to move talented junior Ross Liberati up into the midfield, although Liberati does still play some on the back line.
Strong in the Air
Sophomore defender Andrew Powell has provided a strong presence in the air for the Bison, and it's easy to see why when you see what else he does in an Orange & Blue uniform. Powell was recruited to Bucknell as a high jumper and decathlete for the Bucknell track and field team. Last season he placed third in both the high jump and heptathlon at the Patriot League Indoor Championships, and outdoors he was third in the high jump and fourth in the decathlon. His top high jump of 6-8 1/4 ranks No. 8 in program history.
A Flair for the Dramatic
Andrew Powell has two career goals, both coming this season, and both snapped tie scores in the 85th minute or later. On Sept. 23 against Saint Francis (Pa.), Powell scored with 5:59 remaining to give the Bison a 1-0 win. Then on Oct. 24 at Colgate, it was 1-1 until Powell blasted home a 25-yard shot with just 1:52 left in regulation.
Strong in the Air, Part II
Junior Ross Liberati has five career goals, all of them coming on headers. This season, one of Liberati's two assists came when he headed the ball to Andrew Powell, who headed it into the net for the game-winning goal in a 1-0 win over Saint Francis (Pa.).
Bucknell has gotten excellent production from its bench this season, with junior Tommy McCabe, sophomore Luke Joyner and freshman Josh Plump serving as the primary subs.
McCabe lends a veteran presence at outside midfield, spelling freshman CK Kumah or sophomore Ryan Sappington. Solid at both ends of the field, McCabe has a powerful left foot and a strong throw-in that is a weapon in the offensive third of the field. McCabe has a goal and three assists this season, with all of the points coming against Patriot League competition. He had the primary assist on Conor O'Brien's game-winning goal in the PL Tournament semifinals against Lafayette, and he scored a goal in a league win over Army.
Joyner is the team's third-leading scorer with 12 points on three goals and six assists. His biggest goal of the year was the game-winner in the 78th minute of Bucknell's 1-0 win over Lafayette on the Oct. 30 Fox Soccer Channel Game of the Week. At 6'5", Joyner is the tallest player on the team and gives the Bison an even bigger presence in the air when teamed with Ross Liberati and Andrew Powell.
Plump has two goals and three assists for seven points in his rookie season. His goals came in back-to-back road wins over Colgate and NJIT.
Senior Alex Meisel and sophomore Nader Sawtarie also saw some time in the Patriot League Tournament.
Online Auction: 2009 Patriot League Men's Soccer Autographed Championship Ball (ends Nov. 23)