March 21, 2012

Bucknell Rallies for OT Win After Trailing by Nine

from press release

LEWISBURG, Pa. - Freshman Arriana Sajjad (Reisterstown, Md./McDonogh) recorded six goals and two assists, and her free-position shot with 1:28 left in overtime held up as the game-winner as Bucknell finished off an incredible comeback in a 16-15 victory over Liberty on Wednesday at sunny Graham Field. The Bison spotted the Flames a 9-0 lead before tying the game for the first time on a goal by Madison Hurwitz (Holland, Pa./Council Rock) with 31 seconds left in regulation, then they fell behind 15-13 in extra time before getting up off the deck one more time.

Ryan Wenk (Manhasset, N.Y./Manhasset) scored two goals 24 seconds apart to tie the game at 15-15 in the first period of overtime, and she had three goals on the day. Katelyn Miller (Reisterstown, Md./McDonogh) also had three goals, Hurwitz collected two goals and two assists, and Emily Kookogey (Lutherville, Md./Towson) added two goals and an assist for the Bison, who improved to 3-7 on the season.

Liberty (2-6) got six goals apiece from Morgan Becker and Kristin Crowley and 16 saves from goalie Kristen Masullo. But after the Flames stunned them with the 9-0 start, Bucknell made a quick 3-0 run in the final 3:19 of the first half and was a completely different team the rest of the way.

Liberty dominated the time of possession for most of the first half, thanks to an early run of draw controls and eight first-half saves by Masullo. By the 10-minute mark it was already 5-0, and Becker's fifth goal of the half made it 9-0 with 6:05 to play.

Bucknell broke up the shutout on Miller's unassisted goal 26:41 into the game, but Wenk and Kookogey tacked on two more before the half to make the deficit more manageable. The Bison pulled within 11-8 with 9:14 left in regulation when Sajjad's pass from the top of the arc did not connect with a cutting teammate, but somehow managed to bounce past Masullo and under the crossbar for a goal. Bucknell's momentum was halted momentarily when Nina Dunay scored a goal and then set up Jen Moyer for another, giving the Flames a 13-8 lead with 7:06 to play.

It was all Bison for the remainder of regulation time. Liberty won the ensuing draw but Miller stole the ball back. After a successful clear, Kookogey made a great skip pass over the defense to Hurwitz for a goal with 6:32 to play. Sophie Kleinert (Greenwich, Conn./Greenwich) reached high to snare the following draw, and then Miller drove from the top of the zone for a Bucknell's 10th goal with 5:44 to play.

The Flames won the next possession but had trouble with Bucknell's double-teaming defense, and Miller came up with a ground ball after a bad pass. At the other end Sajjad was fouled while attempting a shot - one of 42 Liberty fouls in the game - and she finished the 8-meter shot to make it 13-11 with 4:28 to play.

Again Bucknell had to come out and press after losing possession of the ball, and this time it was backup goalie Kristina Patrk (Greenwich, Conn./Greenwich), some 40 yards from her crease, forcing a bad pass. Wenk nabbed the ground ball, which led to a Sajjad goal with 1:15 to play.

Sajjad secured the ensuing draw but again the Bison turned the ball over in the offensive zone, but once again the defense came up with a huge takeaway. This time it was defender Alex Wallace (Catonsville, Md./Catonsville) intercepting a pass in the middle of the field as Liberty tried to clear with 41 seconds left.

Once again Bucknell went to Sajjad inside the 8-meter arc, and she drew another foul with 33 seconds left. On the restart, Sajjad passed up a shot, instead sending a slick pass to Hurwitz on the opposite side of the crease for a point-blank goal, and the Bison bench erupted as the scoreboard showed a tie game for the first time all night.

Bucknell needed a save from Caroline O'Neill (Bel Air, Md./Notre Dame Prep) to get the game into overtime, but then the momentum quickly shifted back to the Liberty side of the field, as Bucknell caught a couple of bad breaks in the first three-minute OT period. Adrienne Wendling (Bethesda, Md./Bullis School), who had an excellent day on draws, collected her seventh of the game but had the ball taken away by Crowley. At the other end, Crowley scored her sixth of the day to give Liberty the lead back. Even worse, Wendling received a yellow card for late hit after the goal, meaning the Flames would be up a player and would have possession without a draw.

The Bison thought they had a turnover on an errant pass inside the 8-meter arc, but Patrk was whistled for a foul as she went after the loose ball near her crease. That meant Becker would have a free-position shot into an empty net, and she converted easily to give the Flames a 15-13 lead.

Wenk, one of the veterans on this young Bison squad, came up big when they needed her. She unleashed a wicked sidearm shot just under the crossbar on an 8-meter shot to make it 15-14, and then she tied the game just 24 seconds later when Hurwitz found her alone on the right side on yet another free-position situation.

Bucknell won the draw with 40 seconds left in the first overtime period but could not get a shot off. Sajjad captured her seventh draw of the night to start the second overtime session, but Masullo came up with two straight saves on Sajjad and Wenk. With under 90 seconds remaining, Sajjad earned another free-position attempt, and she buried this one to give the Bison their very first lead of the night.

The biggest of the game's 33 draws was next, and Kleinert quickly pounced on the ball and then had her goggles knocked off by the stick of Becker. That yellow card proved to be critical for the Bison, who now had a manpower advantage to work with while killing the rest of the clock. They worked the ball around with ease and drained the final minute, leading to a celebratory pileup at midfield.

Despite the rocky start, Bucknell finished with a 45-25 shot advantage and a 21-12 edge in draw controls, including a big 5-1 margin in overtime. The Bison committed only 13 turnovers in the game, compared to 21 for Liberty.

O'Neill was credited with all five of Bucknell's saves in the game, but Patrk was in the game when the winning goal was scored, so she earns her first collegiate win.

Sajjad finished off a career-best performance with six goals, two assists and seven draw controls. Wendling also collected seven draws, while Andrea Feldman (Radnor, Pa./Radnor) led the team with four caused turnovers.

Bucknell, which now has 58 goals in its three victories this season, will look to keep it going when Patriot League rival American visits Graham Field on Saturday at 3 p.m.

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