March 6, 2009
LEWISBURG, Pa. - The Bucknell women's lacrosse team is off to a strong start at 3-1, but now the stakes are raised as Patriot League play begins on Saturday with the Bison visiting Lehigh at 1 p.m. at the Ulrich Sports Complex in Bethlehem, Pa.
Bucknell's 3-1 start is its best since 1997, and the Bison have excelled at both ends of the field in their three victories. They held Wagner to five goals in a 14-4 season-opening win, they shut out Davidson in the secnod half of a 9-8 win on Feb. 21, and they kept Robert Morris off the board for more than 30 minutes in the middle of the game in a 9-7 home victory on Sunday.
The Bison rank third in the Patriot League in goals-against average at 9.50, and if you discount the 18-5 loss at Penn State on Feb. 25, that figure falls to a stellar 6.67.
The Mountain Hawks are off to a 2-1 start in 2009. They opened with wins over Saint Joseph's (15-11) and Mount St. Mary's (11-10 in overtime), then dropped an 11-10 decision to Boston College in West Palm Beach, Fla., on Sunday.
Lehigh has five players with between 5-7 goals and 7-9 points so far. Inneke Carmola (5-4-9) is the top point-producer, while Sara MacIntyre (7-0-7) leads the team in goals. Lauren Dykstra (6-2-8), Allison Thomas (6-2-8) and Kelly Draper (6-1-7) round out a balanced offense.
Dykstra, the reigning Patriot League Rookie of the Year, and Thomas lead the team with 12 ground balls apiece, while Dykstra has a team-best eight draw controls.
Defensively, Lehigh is allowing 10.7 goals per game. Kelsy Ferris has played every minute in goal so far and has a .458 save percentage.
First-year head coach Jill Redfern's team returned all six of its all-conference players from last season. The 2008 Lehigh squad finished 10-7 and was the No. 3 seed in the Patriot League Tournament.
Women's lacrosse became a varsity sport at Bucknell in 1978, and the Bison have played Lehigh in every year since. The Mountain Hawks hold a 21-10 series lead. Lehigh dominated the first two decades of the rivalry winning each of the first 19 head-to-head matchups. Bucknell finally won in 1997, kickoff an eight-year winning streak of its own.
The Bison have won 10 of the last 12 meetings with Lehigh. As Patriot League rivals, Bucknell leads the series 10-8.
Bucknell is 5-12 all-time in Bethlehem.
Last season at Graham Field, Inneke Carmola's fifth goal of the day 1:01 into the second overtime period lifted Lehigh to an 11-10 victory over Bucknell. The loss was a tough one for the Bison, who outplayed the Mountain Hawks for 55 minutes, but let a two-goal lead get away late in regulation. Becca Devine had three goals and Bonnie Buechel two goals and an assist to lead the Bison.
Chelsea Peters scored three goals and Bucknell used another strong defensive effort to turn back visiting Robert Morris on Sunday at Graham Field. Carol Donohue added two goals and an assist, and Bonnie Buechel also scored twice for the Bison. Bucknell led 6-5 at the half, then opened up an 8-5 lead by the midpoint of the second period. Robert Morris ended a 34:05 scoreless drought with two late goals to pull within 8-7, but Alyssa DeLorenz made a big save to preserve the lead and Bucknell effectively drained the clock.
Sophomore midfielder Julia Braun was named the Patriot League Defensive Player of the Week on Tuesday. Braun had seven ground balls -- one shy of the program record -- along with a goal and two draw controls in the win over Robert Morris. One of those DCs was a huge one in a one-goal game with two minutes remaining.
Braun now has five goals and one assist in four games in 2009. She leads the team with 16 ground balls, is tied for the team lead with eight draw controls and ranks second on the squad with six caused turnovers. Braun is tied for the Patriot League lead in ground balls per game at 4.0.
Bonnie Buechel (9-0-9) leads the team in goals and is tied for the team lead in points. Chelsea Peters (7-2-9) and Carol Donohue (5-4-9) also have nine points.
Buechel leads the team with eight caused turnovers and also has 10 ground balls. She also leads the Patriot League with two game-winning goals.
Alyssa DeLorenz ranks third in the Patriot League in goals-against average (9.00), save percentage (.534) and saves per game (9.75).
Peters is 6-for-8 on free-position shots this season, while the Bison team is 12-for-24.
Bucknell's three-game road trip continues on Wednesday with a 4 p.m. contest at Duquesne. The Bison do not play at home again until March 18 vs. Binghamton.