Bucknell Field Hockey Heads to No. 14 Lafayette in Bid for First in PL Standings
Oct. 12, 2012
LEWISBURG, Pa. - The top two field hockey teams in the Patriot League square off on Saturday as Bucknell heads to Easton, Pa., to face off with No. 14 Lafayette. The Bison (8-6, 2-0 PL) and the Leopards (10-1, 2-0 PL) have developed quite the rivalry in recent years, having met in each of the last three conference tournaments. The two squads also hold the top spot in the league rankings in all but two statistical categories. Saturday's showdown is set for 12 p.m. with live stats on GameTracker.
Bucknell and Lafayette have played more than one close game in recent years. Each of the teams' meetings has been decided by two or fewer goals since 2005, a stretch that includes 10 games and three Patriot League Tournament bouts.
Most recently, the Bison and the Leopards met in the 2011 Patriot League championship game with Lafayette coming out on top 3-1 in Washington, D.C. Deanna DiCroce had four points on two goals for the Leopards, bringing her season total vs. the Bison to 10 points (4G, 2A) after she helped her team to a 5-3 regular-season victory in Lewisburg, Pa. The two losses for Bucknell last season was the team's fourth straight to Lafayette and gave the Leopards a 33-11-2 record in the all-time series.
Just as the teams head the conference standings, so do their goalkeepers. Bucknell's Erica Perrine (Bridgewater, N.J./Bridgewater-Raritan) and Lafayette's Jessica Deutsch have each been named the Patriot League Goalkeeper of the Week three times in seven weeks. Perrine has yet to allow a goal in league action this season, giving her the No. 1 spot in goals against average and save percentage. Deutsch is second in GAA (1.05).
Bucknell is the only team with a shutout in the Patriot League this fall, having blanked both Colgate and Holy Cross. Lafayette has taken on American and Colgate so far, winning 4-1 and 6-1, respectively. The Leopards' only loss was a 3-2 decision at Penn State on Sept. 2.
Despite their strong stats, the two keepers have not had the most work in their Patriot League matchups. Either Lafayette or Bucknell ranks first in the league in every statistical category except saves and defensive saves, pointing to their offensive strengths. Bucknell is tops in scoring average (5.50 goals/game), goals against average (0.00), goals scored (11) and assists (8). Lafayette leads in shots (21.0/game) and penalty corners (10.00), and the Bison are second in each.
Bucknell enters the contest on a two-game winning streak after defeating Holy Cross and Harvard last weekend. The Bison collected multiple awards for the performance as Perrine claimed Patriot League Goalkeeper of the Week for the third time this year, Kayla Sullivan (Bridgewater, N.J./Bridgewater-Raritan) was named the Rookie of the Week for the second consecutive voting period and Kelsey Mucelli (Kutztown, Pa./Kutztown Area) was selected as the Bison Athlete of the Week.
Mucelli leads a trio of sophomores who have stepped up into an offensive role this season. Mucelli recently moved into a tie for ninth at Bucknell in single-season assists after tallying her ninth assist against the Crimson last Sunday. Maggie Murphy (Emmaus, Pa./Emmaus) has eight assists this year and Amie Pritchard (Rumson, N.J./Kent School (Conn.)) has seven, giving the group 24 total. Last year, they combined for just two assists.
With its 4-0 win at Holy Cross and 3-1 win at Harvard last weekend, Bucknell registered back-to-back road victories for the first time this season. The Bison are 3-3 in road games this fall, and games have been closer than when at Graham Field. Bucknell is averaging 3.4 goals when playing at home and 2.0 on the road. Perrine has been strong regardless of location, putting up a goals against average of 1.82 on the road, which is slightly better than her 1.87 overall mark.
The Bison are hoping to reverse their struggles when playing on the road at Easton. Bucknell is 2-20 all-time when playing at Lafayette with the most recent win coming on Sept. 23, 2000.
After taking on Lafayette, Bucknell will have just three more regular-season games in 2012. The Bison will host Lehigh on Senior Day on Oct. 20, followed by road trips to No. 7 Penn State on Oct. 23 and American on Oct. 27.