Bucknell Women's Soccer Season on Line Saturday at Navy
Oct. 26, 2012
LEWISBURG, Pa. --For the second year in a row, the Bucknell women's soccer team's postseason hopes are tied to the regular-season finale against Navy. While the 2011 Bison needed a win over the Mids to get into the Patriot League Tournament and ultimatelty fell a goal short, the situation is a bit more favorable this season, as Bucknell will earn the fourth and final tourney seed with a win or tie on Saturday in Annapolis, or a Lehigh loss or tie in its game against Holy Cross later in the day.
Kickoff for the Bucknell-Navy game at the Glenn Warner Soccer Facility is set for noon.
While Bucknell just needs that single point to guarantee a postseason berth, it will have to come against a 17-1-1 Navy team that has dropped points in only two of its 19 outings all year. The Mids lost 3-0 to Maryland at home on opening night and played Colgate to a 1-1 draw on the road Oct. 12. Everything else has gone in the win column, often in dominant fashion, as Navy owns a whopping 50-18 goal differential on the season.
Despite that gaudy record, Navy still has work to do to secure the No. 1 seed and hosting rights for the Patriot League Tournament. A win or tie on Saturday will get that done, as thet Mids enter the finale with a three-point lead over Colgate.
At 5-0-1 in league play, Navy tops the table with 16 points. Colgate (4-1-1) suffered its first PL loss at Lehigh last Sunday, a result that kept Bucknell from cliching a playoff spot. American (4-2-0) is third with 12 points, followed by Bucknell (3-3-0, 9), Lehigh (2-4-0, 6), Army (2-4-0, 6), Holy Cross (2-4-0, 6) and Lafayette (1-5-0, 3).
Bucknell defeated Army and Holy Cross but lost at Lehigh earlier in the season. Thus any tie involving Bucknell and Lehigh would favor the Mountain Hawks. Lehigh hosts Holy Cross Saturday at 2 p.m. Elsewhere, Colgate visits American Saturday at 1 p.m., and Army travels to Lafayette on Sunday at 1 p.m.
Last Friday Lehigh scored late in double overtime for a 2-1 win over Bucknell, but the Bison responded nicely with a 1-0 victory at Lafayette on Sunday. Senior Taryn Boucher scored the game-winner in the 83rd minute, giving Bucknell double-digit victories for the sixth time in the last eight years.
Chelsey Garkowski, who scored 30 seconds into the match at Lehigh, leads the Bison with eight goals and 19 points on the season. Courtney Nelson (5-5-15), Cassie Denger (3-5-11), Evelyn Nicinski (3-3-9), Liz Dwornik (2-4-8), Kayla Yee (2-3-7) and Boucher (2-2-6) all have six or more points. Garkowski (6th) and Nelson (10th) both rank in the top 10 in the league in points per game.
Boucher is this week's Patriot League Defensive Player of the Week, while senior goalkeeper Sandita McDermott is coming off her seventh shutout of the year, one shy of the program record. She leads the league in clean sheets and saves with 96, and her .807 save percentage is No. 2 in the league.
Meanwhile, Navy's season ledger looks more like a keno card, with big numbers all over the sheet. Ashlynn Soellner ranks second in the league in scoring with 27 points on 10 goals and seven assists, while Morgan Dankanich (10-4-24) is just behind. Paloma Perez (5-8-18) and Kaylie Davidson (6-3-15) are also double-digit point-producers, and Julie Schumacher is tied for the league lead with nine assists. All told, 11 different Mids have at least seven points.
In goal, Elizabeth Hoerner has started 17 of the team's 19 games, and she has a .786 save percentage and a 1.14 goals-against average.
These two teams eventually played last season under strange circumstances. The scheduled meeting at Emmitt Field had to be stopped after nine minutes due to a freak October snowstorm. The contest was rescheduled a day later on Susquehanna University's turf field, and Navy went on to win 1-0 on Soellner's goal in the 11th minute. That was a winner-take-all contest, with Navy claiming the final Patriot League Tournament slot with the win.
Bucknell had won the two previous meetings with Navy, including a 1-0 decision on its last trip to Annapolis. Navy holds a 12-8-1 lead in a series that dates back to 1994. Eight of the last nine meetings have been decided by one goal.
The two teams have met in the postseason three times. In the 1995 Patriot League Tournament semifinals, Navy knocked out the top-seeded Bison (who had been unbeaten in league play in the regular-season) by a 2-0 margin. Bucknell's first Patriot League title came with a 2-1 overtime victory over Navy in Annapolis in 2001. Lauren Schwarz's overtime penalty kick was the difference. Then in 2007 in Lewisburg, Navy edged the Bison 1-0 in the championship game on Carissa Youker's goal late in the first half.
Interestingly, the visiting team has had plenty of success in this series. The Bison are 5-4-1 in Annapolis, while the Mids are 7-3-0 in Lewisburg.