April 21, 2010
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LEWISBURG, Pa. - The Bison women's lacrosse team will try to play the role of spoiler on Saturday, when it travels to Annapolis, Md., to face a Navy team that sits in a three-way tie for first place and still holds out hope of hosting next week's Patriot League Tournament. Bucknell enters the final game of a difficult, injury-plagued campaign with a 2-14 overall mark, 0-5 in the Patriot League. Navy comes in at 13-3 overall and 4-1 in the conference, and the Mids sit alongside Colgate and Lehigh atop the standings.
Game time is set for 3 p.m. at Navy-Marine Corps Stadium. It will be part two of a doubleheader, with the Navy men's team hosting Johns Hopkins at noon.
The Bison will have their work cut out against a Navy squad that leads the Patriot League in scoring by a wide margin and also ranks No. 1 in the league in fewest goals allowed. The Mids average just a shade under 15 goals per game and feature a pair of 50 goal scorers in Erin Rawlick (58-28-86) and Danielle Vivonetto (50-5-55). On Apr. 3, Navy avenged a 2009 Patriot League title game loss to Colgate with a 12-8 victory in Hamilton, N.Y. But since then the Mids have eked out a 15-14 home win over fourth-place American and suffered a 15-7 loss at Navy last week.
Last week, Bucknell stayed within striking distance of Colgate for much of the game, but some costly turnovers down the stretch hampered the comeback bid and the Bison fell 18-12. Junior midfielder Julia Braun (36-10-46) remained red hot, however. She produced four goals and two assists against the Raiders and now has 15 points in her last two games, putting her well over the 40-point mark for the season. Braun is one of only two players in the nation leading her team in every major statistical category (Hofstra's Corrine Gandolfi is the other).
The Bison have scored 33 goals in their last two games and are averaging 11.8 goals in the four games since Carol Donohue (12-9-21) returned to the starting lineup. Donohue, who recently became Bucknell's all-time leading scorer, would be ranked third in the league in points per game if she had played in enough games to qualify.
Bucknell is hoping to duplicate its starts from each of its first two contests against Navy. Last year the Bison sprinted to a 5-1 lead, but the Mids rallied to go up 8-7 and won it when goalie Elaine Ponchione made a save with three seconds left in the game. Two seasons ago in Annapolis, Bucknell took a 3-0 lead but Navy eventually parlayed an 11-goal second half into an 18-11 win.
Bucknell-Navy Series Notes:
• As this is only Navy's third varsity season, the two teams have officially met just twice. The Mids won 18-11 at home in a driving rainstorm in 2008, then held on for the 8-7 verdict at Graham Field last year.
• Carol Donohue (4-2-6), Chelsea Peters (4-1-5) and Julia Braun (4-0-4) are Bucknell's top scorers in the two games against Navy. Goalie Alyssa DeLorenz has allowed 26 goals and made 12 saves against the Mids.
• In 2007, Bucknell and Navy played an exhibition game at Graham Field, and the Bison prevailed 14-10 behind two goals and two assists from Bonnie Buechel.
• Julia Braun has set career highs in every offensive category with 36 goals, 10 assists and 46 points. She also has a career high with 47 draw controls, a total that is just four shy of Bonnie Buechel's Bucknell single-season record.
• Braun is also moving up on a number of Bucknell career lists. She just moved into 10th place all-time in goals with 88, and she also ranks second in career draw controls (132), fourth in caused turnovers (61) and tied for eighth in ground balls (98).
• Braun ranks seventh in the Patriot League in goals per game, ninth in points per game, third in draw controls per game and fourth in caused turnovers per game.
• Goalie Alyssa DeLorenz ranks third in the nation in total saves (167) and ninth in saves per game (10.0).
• In addition to Braun, Michelle Milot (16), Becca Devine (15) and Paige Cobbs (14), Carol Donohue (12) and Chelsea Peters (10) have all reached double digits in goals. Ryan Gribbon (9) and Ryan Wenk (8) are also closing in on double figures.
• In her career, Donohue now has 184 points on 107 goals and 77 assists. The points and assists totals are new school records. The previous career mark for points was 173, set by Suzanne Raffaele from 2000-03. Melissa Montefusco (1999-2002) held the career assists standard with 72. Donohue also ranks sixth in school history in career goals.
• Donohue also ranks fifth on the Patriot League career assists chart.
• In addition to 50-goal scorers Erin Rawlick and Danielle Vivonetto, Navy has three other 20-goal players in Caitlin Mandrin-Hill (24-21-45), Kathy Young (23-13-36) and Katrina Nietsch (21-10-31). Mary Ruttum (17-12-29) is not far behind.
• Rawlick is the national leader in both goals and points per game, and with 76 draw controls she ranks fifth nationally in that category.
• Navy has used five different goalies this season. Elaina Ponchione has seen the most time with 16 appearances, and she has a .410 save percentage and an 8.96 goals-against average. Michelle Verbeek has played in six games and has the best numbers with a .472 save percentage and 8.23 GAA.
• The Mids are 10-1 at home, outscoring foes 179-75.
• Navy can clinch home field advantage for the Patriot League Tournament with a victory over Bucknell and a Colgate win over Lehigh later in the day.