Women’s Soccer wins Patriot League Championship again

Lauren Mederios , Staff Writer

After two hard fought games, the Bucknell Women’s Soccer team won the Patriot League Title this weekend.

The Bison defeated both Boston University and Army West Point in penalty kicks. Bucknell’s soccer team are now back-to-back league champions, and their program overall holds a total of six league titles. 

Ending the regular season ranked second in the league, the Bison had a bye the first round, automatically putting them in the semi-finals. 

On Nov. 4, the Bison took on Boston University at Emmitt Field for the semi-final game. The stands were packed with Orange and Blue fans. The game was 0-0 throughout regulation and remained scoreless in both overtime halves. 

Throughout the game, Bucknell pressed hard, stayed tight with their marks and had many opportunities on goal. With 110 minutes of scoreless play, the game came down to penalty kicks. The starting five PK shooters for the Bison were Hannah Stuck ’24, Jenna Hall ’24, Teresa Deda ’25, Meghan White ’26 and Rylee Donaldson ’23. 

Overall, the shootout ended 4-3, in a Bison victory. Contributing to the scoring was Hall, Deda, White and Donaldson. Once the whistle blew, the large student crowd stormed the field, celebrating this amazing moment with the team. 

“Knowing that we beat Boston in the regular season, we knew they were going to come out with everything they had,” Hall said. “We had to perform to the best of our ability in front of our home crowd in order to beat them.”

The Bison finished the game with a total of 21 shots, while Boston University tallied 11 shots. Key players throughout the game were goalkeeper Hall, who received the Patriot League Goalkeeper of the Year award, and senior forward Donaldson who was named the Tournament MVP. 

Bucknell faced off against Army West Point in the most important game of the season on Nov. 6 — the Patriot League Championship.

Earlier in the season when these two teams competed, the game ended in a 0-0 tie. Heading into this game, both teams were locked in and determined to win. 

In the first half of the game, there were limited scoring chances for both teams, due to Bucknell and Army West Point being two of the best defensive teams in the league. However, the second half opened up. 

During regulation around the 56th minute, Army had a breakaway straight to goal, but Hall met her at the top of the box and made an amazing sliding save, keeping the score 0-0. For the Bison, Abby Gearhart ’23, Sydney Hess ’26 and Deda fired many shots on goal in the second half. 

Similarly to the semi-final game, the Bison drew a 0-0 score after regulation, and remained scoreless in both overtime halves. At the end of the 110 minutes, the shooting stats were even at 19 apiece. This meant Bucknell would enter another penalty kick shootout.

“I was super anxious going into penalty kicks in both games,” Hall said. “As a goalkeeper you are not expected to save them, but I knew I would have to do something in order to win the game. I just kept telling myself to just go with my gut and guess on a side.”

Bucknell had Stuck, Hall, Deda, White and Donaldson take the penalty kicks again. After the coin toss, the Bison were elected to shoot first. However, for the Bison this time, the penalty kicks appeared to cause them trouble.

Stuck hit the crossbar and Hall’s shot was saved bottom right. At the end of the two rounds, Army was leading 1-0. 

Bucknell’s third shooter, Deda, was able to put the Bison on the board, leveling the score 1-1. Next, freshman White scored in the top right corner. In the fourth round, Hall made a spectacular diving save to her right, keeping the Bison on top 2-1. 

Heading into the fifth round, Donaldson needed to make this penalty shot to win the game. Luckily, Donaldson delivered and clinched the win for the second straight game. Shortly after the whistle blew, Donaldson was surrounded by her teammates as the Bison celebrated another Patriot League Title. 

“I actually didn’t realize we had won after I made my shot, I thought Army was going to shoot again after me,” Donaldson said. “When I saw my teammates running at me, I knew we won and I was pumped to celebrate with everyone.”

Throughout the game, Hall tallied six saves. This game was her ninth shutout of the season and she lowered her season goals-against average to a league best 0.62. 

Donaldson was named Tournament MVP and she was also on the All-Tournament Team joined by Hall, Deda and White.

For many of the upperclassmen players on the team, this win made them a back-to-back champion.

“It feels absolutely unreal,” Donaldson said. “Last year the feeling was so surreal and to do it again this year, especially in my last season, was the most special feeling.”

Now, the Bison are heading to the NCAA Tournament for the second year in a row and the sixth time in school history. 

“We are all really excited to play in the first round of the tournament,” Donaldson said. “We took some necessary time off to recover and are ready to practice hard for the next couple of days in order to stay sharp for the game.”

 Bucknell will compete against Ohio State in the NCAA first round on Nov. 11. The game will take place in Columbus, Ohio at 6 p.m. 

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