- The Bison field hockey team plays the first half of a four-game road swing this weekend when it travels to Boston U. on Saturday and Harvard on Sunday. Saturday will be a rematch of the 2020-21 Patriot League Championship game in which Bucknell defeated the Terriers 2-1 in overtime for the program’s first league title.
- Bucknell improved to 5-2 overall and earned a win in its first Patriot League game of the season over the weekend. The Bison defeated Holy Cross 7-2 on Saturday before grabbing a 4-2, come-from-behind victory against Sacred Heart on Sunday. The Bison received goals from six different contributors and totaled 34 points with 11 goals and 12 assists. The team has now started 1-0 in league play in three of the last four seasons. Bucknell has won each of its last four games and sits in first place in the Patriot League standings.
- Rookie Lily Neilson had a historic performance in Saturday’s win over Holy Cross, breaking a school record and tying a 31-year-old Patriot League record with five goals and 10 points in a single game. The four-goal mark she eclipsed was last reached by Hall-of-Famer Jen Zimmerman in 1999. Neilson added an assist in Sunday’s win and earned Patriot League Offensive Player and Rookie of the Week honors. She now leads the league in goals (7) and points (15) this fall.
- Tying a program record on Saturday was senior Erin Zielinski, who was named the Patriot League Defensive Player of the Week on Monday. Zielinski matched the program record for single-game assists with three in the win over Holy Cross and added a fourth in Sunday’s win against the Pioneers. She led a Bison defensive unit that limited its two opponents to 12 combined shots. Zielinski leads the Patriot League with seven assists on the season, and two other Bison, Maddie Rehak and Mackenzie Kile, are tied for second with four each.
- Mary Kate Stefanowicz, Gugulethu Sibanda, Rachel Apa, Reanne Burgess and Rehak also scored goals over the weekend for the Bison. Stefanowicz is tied for sixth in the league with four goals this season.
- The Bison sit atop the Patriot League in both goals (18) and assists (23).
- The Bison went 3-3 in Patriot League play and 5-3 against league opponents overall last season. Bucknell has won its last six games against league opponents and is 12-7 in league play over the last three seasons.
- For the first time in program history, Bucknell entered the 2021 field hockey season as reigning champions after collecting a Patriot League title in the spring and posting a first-round win over VCU in the NCAA tournament. Bucknell finished the 2020-21 season with a 6-4 overall record. After dropping their first three games of the spring season by a combined score of 10-1, the Bison turned things around and won six in a row to reach the NCAA quarterfinals. Bucknell limited opponents to 1.0 goals per game during the winning streak, and four of the victories went past regulation.
- Head coach Jeremy Cook is in his 14th season with the program. With a 125-118 career record, Cook is three victories shy of matching the program’s all-time wins record. Cook has guided the Bison to the Patriot League Tournament every season and has posted a .500 overall record or better in each of the last five.
- Bucknell was picked second in the Patriot League preseason poll, while junior Kayla Kisthardt and Zielinski were both named to the Preseason All-Patriot League Team. Zielinski was also voted the Patriot League’s Preseason Defensive Player of the Year.
Scouting Boston U.
- Boston is 2-6 to begin the season and 0-1 in Patriot League play after dropping its last five contests. Most recently, the Terriers fell 7-0 to 18th ranked Princeton on Sunday. The Terriers also fell 2-1 at Lehigh on Friday. Boston’s two wins are over Monmouth and New Hampshire.
- Boston was picked third in the Patriot League preseason poll with 90 total points and four first-place votes. The team finished first in the regular season in the spring with a 4-0 league record before falling to Bucknell in the Patriot League title game. The Terriers have reached the championship game seven times in the eight years since they joined the league.
- Boston graduate student Miya Denison and sophomore Thalia Steenssens both landed on the Preseason All-Patriot League Team. Both have a goal and an assist this season.
- The Terriers are led in goals (4) and points (10) by rookie forward Payton Anderson. She’s also attempted a team-high 21 shots. Senior Casey Thompson leads the squad with three assists.
- Junior goalkeeper Caroline Kelly has started all eight games this season, but sophomore Kate Thomason has made appearances in six as well. Kelly owns a 3.28 goals against average and a 0.680 save percentage.
- As a team, Boston has allowed a league-high 24 goals (3.0/G) and has faced 13.6 shots per game.
- The Terriers have lost just six home games to Patriot League opponents since joining the league in 2013. Bucknell has accounted for two of those losses. Boston is 39-7 in Patriot League play and has won four league titles since 2013.
- Boston is led by head coach Sally Starr, who has been with the team since 1981. She possesses a 475-308-19 overall record with the Terriers and is a three-time Patriot League Coach of the Year selection. Starr served as head coach of the Bison in 1979 and 1980, going 19-14-2 with the Orange and Blue.
Series History with Boston U.
- Bucknell is 3-11 all-time against the Terriers but has won the last two meetings.
- The Bison won 2-1 in overtime at New Balance Field in the Patriot League Championship game back on April 24. The Terriers scored first in the 45th minute, but Bucknell responded with a game-tying goal in the 55th minute, and then scored the game-winner in the eighth minute of the extra period. Kari Melberger and Kaelyn Long accounted for the two goals, while Erin Zielinski, Kayla Kisthardt and Sarah Dimock provided assists.
- Bucknell also won a road game at Boston in 2019 as then-freshman Maddie Rehak scored unassisted in the 37th minute of action.
- Bucknell’s other win in the series was a 5-2 victory at home in 2014.
- The last eight meetings between Bucknell and Boston have been decided by just one goal each.
- Harvard is off to a hot start at 5-1 this season, falling to No. 16 Connecticut 1-0 in penalty shots on Sunday for its only loss. The team will also face Columbia on Friday before hosting the Bison on Sunday. Harvard has allowed just one goal in regulation this season.
- Harvard was picked second in the Ivy League’s preseason poll and received three first-place votes following a 13-4 overall record and a 6-1 mark in league play in 2019. The Ivy League did not compete during the 2020-21 spring season due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Harvard also collected two wins over top-25 teams in 2019 and earned 13 wins for a third consecutive season. It has two wins over top-25 teams this season in Delaware and Monmouth.
- Senior defender Hannah Pearce leads the Crimson with three goals, including two game-winners this season. She’s tied for the team-lead in points (6) with sophomore midfielder Avery Donahue, who has two goals and two assists.
- The Crimson are averaging 14.5 shots and two goals per game this season. They scored a season-high four goals in Friday’s shutout victory against Northeastern.
- Harvard junior goalkeeper Ellie Shahbo has started the last four games and sports a 1.000 save percentage, surrendering only the shootout goal against Connecticut. Sophomore Sofia Castore started the first two games of the season in the cage.
- Harvard is guided by head coach Tjerk Van Herwaarden, who joined the Crimson in 2012 after winning five national championships in seven seasons on the coaching staff at Maryland.
Series History with Harvard
- Bucknell is 2-0 all-time against Harvard, having met in 2010 and 2012.
- Both games in the series were played at Harvard, and Bucknell collected wins of 3-0 and 3-1.
- The Bison are 34-29 all-time against Ivy League opponents.
Bucknell remains on the road for a single game at American next weekend. The Bison visit the Eagles on Saturday, Oct. 2 for their second Patriot League contest of the season.