March 28, 2009

Bucknell Women Clinch PL Tournament Berth

from press release

LEWISBURG, Pa. - Bucknell senior Bonnie Buechel (South Orange, N.J./Columbia) made two pivotal plays about 100 meters apart in the waning minutes to carry the Bison to a tense 12-11 victory over Holy Cross on Saturday at Graham Field. Bucknell remained in sole possession of first place in the Patriot League at 4-0, and the Bison clinched a berth in next month's Patriot League Tournament with the victory.

In a tie game with 2:30 left, Buechel alertly stole a pass near the Bucknell goal, then with just 1:09 remaining,Carol Donohue (West Babylon, N.Y./West Babylon) found Buechel on a backdoor cut for the game-winning goal.

That was one of four assists on the day for Donohue, and it completed a hat trick for Buechel. Donohue also had two goals, giving her a season-high six points in the game. Chelsea Peters (Cold Spring Harbor, N.Y./Cold Spring Harbor) also had three goals, while Julia Braun (Tomkins Cove, N.Y./North Rockland) andMichelle Milot (Basking Ridge, N.J./Ridge) had two apiece.

Bucknell upped its overall record to 8-3 with the victory as it reached the eight-win mark for the first time since 2004. The Bison also snapped a four-game losing streak to Holy Cross (2-8, 0-3). The Crusaders had defeated Bucknell by identical 16-6 scores in each of the last two seasons.

The Bison finished with authority in this one, scoring five of the game's last six goals after falling behind 10-7 early in the second half. Bucknell scored two goals in 10 seconds, with Donohue scoring one and assisting Peters on the other, to begin the rally. Bucknell almost made it a three-goal flurry, but Holy Cross goalie Amy Martin stoned Ryan Gribbon (Alexandria, Va./St. Stephen's & St. Agnes) from point blank range.

Bucknell did tie it at the 20:40 mark, when defender Katie Fox (New Canaan, Conn./New Canaan) drew a charge to help the Bison gain possession, and Buechel finished a free-position shot at the other end. Just 61 seconds later, another foul inside the 8-meter arc led to a free-position goal from Milot, and the Bison had their first lead since it was 5-4 in the first half.

With the lead and the ball inside 18 minutes remaining, Bucknell tried to slow things down. The Bison melted five minutes off the clock, but Martin made another good save on Donohue, then Donohue was sent off with a yellow card on the clear.

Holy Cross took advantage and tied the game at 11-apiece when Kat Sutton scored off a feed from Katie Gardner with 12:04 to play.

It had been a nightmare of an afternoon for Bucknell's standout goalie Alyssa DeLorenz (Garland, Texas/Plano East) to that point. She had only one save while allowing the 11 goals, but DeLorenz, who has won four of the last five Patriot League Goalie of the Week honors and led the league in save percentage, came up huge down the stretch.

She made three outstanding saves to preserve the tie. The first came on a free-position attempt by Calley Benoit with 11:22 left. At the 8:21 mark she made a tough stop from close range on Sutton. DeLorenz's best of the day came later on that possession, when she reached back with one arm to make a terrific save on 30-point scorer Katie Gardner.

But the Bison committed three turnovers without getting off a shot later in the game, and the Crusaders called timeout with 3:29 left to set up for a possible go-ahead score. Holy Cross worked the ball behind the cage, but Buechel jumped in front of a pass to the left of the crease and drew a foul while going for the ground ball.

Bucknell cleared, and with 1:09 left Donohue drew a sliding defender and slipped a pass in front to Buechel, who slammed it home to put the Bison in front.

Freshman Jenna Lotkowictz (Skaneateles, N.Y./Skaneateles) came up with the biggest draw control of the day for Bucknell, and the Bison played keep-away for the final minute to secure the win.

Bucknell outshot Holy Cross 30-19 and made a big rally in draw controls. The Bison were being dominated 11-5 in draw controls, then won the last eight of the game to spark their rally.

Martin finished with 10 saves to four for DeLorenz, but despite the saves disparity Bucknell finished with a big advantage on free position shots, going 4-for-5 compared to 0-for-3 for the Crusaders.

Meg O'Leary had three goals and an assist and Megan Fenton two goals and two assists to lead Holy Cross. Sutton and Gardner scored two goals apiece.

It was a game of runs in the first half, as Bucknell opened with a 2-0 lead, followed by four straight goals by Holy Cross, three straight by the Bison, and a 3-1 run by the Crusaders to finish the half. Annie Boylan's goal with 11 seconds left gave Holy Cross a 7-6 lead at the break.

Another 3-1 run to start the second half, capped by a Fenton goal 4:45 into the period, put Holy Cross on top 10-7.

Bucknell returns to action on against St. Bonaventure in a non-league game at 4 p.m. at Graham Field. The Bison have just two more league games remaining, on Apr. 11 at Colgate and Apr. 18 at home against Navy. The Raiders defeated the Mids on Saturday to get to 3-0 in Patriot League play, just a half-game behind Bucknell.

 


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