My wife often times kids me when I go home after a game and look at the streamed recording, but often times I get a perspective by not being in the moment. In the case of this game I got a better perspective of the relative game plans knowing the outcome. As I wrote before the game the statistics of these to teams were remarkably similar. Both teams came into the game with a deficit in scoring success. The color commentator in the streaming broadcast revealed the Bucknell coaching staff’s game plan. To compensate for for their lack of scoring on the field they were to generate corners and create scoring opportunities that way. So that was a point of emphasis during this past week’s practices.
Lafayette on the other hand needed to stretch the field and open up spaces to get the ball inside the attacking 25 to their forwards. It was Bucknell who was to execute their plan and ultimately prevail. One needed only to look at the final stats to confirm their successful execution. Lafayette was able to record only 2 shots the entire game despite actually controlling much of the midfield play. Bucknell had 15 shots and 6 corners to Lafayette’s two corners. The first two goals came during these corners. When Lafayettee was able to penetrate the circle they left without shots or were unable generate corners of their own.
As was typical of games between these two rivals, it was a physical affair, but when Bucknell had corner opportunities they took advantage. The first Bucknell goal occurred with only 8:39 expired on the clock during a corner. The first attempt was stopped by Katlelyn Arnold but the official detected a foul and the second corner attempt was good as it was deflected off a defenders stick.
The second goal came early in the second half as Anna Wills found an opening off an Estelle Palandjian assist to make it 2-0. Both goals came early in the respective periods and the Bucknell defense stymied the Leopard attempts to find open players at the end of long passes. The last goal came on a break to the goal by Bucknell with about 2 minutes remaining.
Despite the loss there were highlights by Lafayette. Cody Hunsicker found herself in duels with Bucknell offensive players and was to prevail on most of those occasions.Rachel Bird was strong defensively as was Lisa Van der Geest, forcing long periods before Bucknell attacks. Bucknell was to use effectively the speed of Marisa Morakis who was to generate 2 shots herself.
It was a crucial loss but the Leopards are still in the hunt for a place in the Patriot League tournament. However, it now depends on a loss by Bucknell in next week’s game against a weak Colgate squad and a win by Lafayette against arch nemesis Lehigh.
There are other goals the Leopards should strive for. With three games, a winning season is still possible. Tomorrow they meet with Harvard , friday will be the annual tussle with an improving Lehigh squad followed by a sunday match in Philadelphia against Temple.