Nov. 19, 2009

Courtesy of Bucknell


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PRINCETON, N.J. - The 1-0 theme continued in the NCAA Tournament for the Bucknell men's soccer team, as freshman Brendan Burgdorf scored the game's only goal in the 70th minute and the Bison advanced to the second round for the second time in the last four years by defeating Princeton Thursday night at rain-soaked Myslik Field at Roberts Stadium. Bucknell advances to play national No. 2 seed Virginia on Sunday at 1 p.m. in Charlottesville.

It was Bucknell's 12th shutout of the season, extending its school record, and it was the 10th by a 1-0 margin. The Bison are 17-5 on the season and now own the Patriot League record for total wins in a season. Princeton, which received an at-large bid to the NCAA Tournament and was one of four Ivy League teams in the 48-team field, finishes its season with a 9-6-3 record.

Bucknell will bring the nation's third-highest victory total into a re-match with Atlantic Coast Conference champion Virginia, which is 14-3-3 and brings a run of eight straight shutouts into the NCAA Tournament. Conversely, Bucknell has now scored a goal in 55 of its last 56 matches.

In 2006, Bucknell defeated George Mason 1-0 in overtime in the first round of the NCAAs, then lost at Virginia 4-0 in round two. The Bison are now 3-4 all-time in the NCAA Tournament, also including a 1-0 win over Penn State in 1974.

After an even first half and some dynamite chances from both sides early in the second, Princeton was starting to tip the scales in its favor when the game was stopped due to lightning in the area with 24:47 left in the match. The scoreless contest was stopped for 30 minutes, and right out of the delay Princeton had to fend off two Bison corner kicks.

Sophomore goalkeeper Tommy Caso, who was brilliant in this one, made a highlight-reel save on Ben Harms with 21:20 left in the match. Bucknell countered after the point blank shot, and Patriot League Offensive Player of the Year Conor O'Brien found some space in the middle of the field. He fed a long pass through two Tigers to Burgdorf along the left side of the box. Burgdorf took two touches, stopped on a dime to let a defender pass, then fired a low shot that deflected off his man's leg and into the right side of the net.

Burgdorf, who also scored the game-winning goal in Bucknell's Patriot League championship win over American on Sunday, now has nine on the season, tied for second-most by a Bison freshman. It was O'Brien's ninth assist, tied for fifth-most in a single season by a Bucknell player.

After the goal, Princeton outshot Bucknell 8-0. Most of those shots were fairly harmless, although Lester Nare had a great look on a volley at the top of the 6-yard box with two minutes remaining, but it sailed high. A deflected shot went over the end line with 15 seconds remaining on the clock, and Princeton hustled to get a corner kick off before the final horn. Brandon Busch put the ball into a mob of bodies in front of the goal. A Princeton player put a head on the ball, but it went well wide as the clock expired.

"Tommy Caso was the difference today," said a drenched but happy coach Brendan Nash after the game. "In the second half Princeton had us under pressure. We have some special attackers in Conor O'Brien and Brendan Burgdorf, but we are honest with ourselves to say that they had the better of play for awhile in the second half. Tommy made some very tough saves tonight and had one of his best games when it mattered most."

Before the lightning delay, both goalkeepers made great saves early in the second half. Sean Lynch showed quick reactions on a diving save on Burgdorf's shot from 10 yards out. Less than a minute later, Josh Walburn blasted one from 25 yards away, but Caso went airborne to tip the ball over the bar.

Just after the halftime break Max Hare and Matt Sanner had good chances go wide as Travis Rand and Tommy McCabe hustled back to defend. In the 50th minute O'Brien sent Brendan Burgdorf in with a lob pass over two defenders, but Lynch came out to break up the play. Four minutes later O'Brien tried a shot of his own inside the box, but it skipped wide to the left.

In the 68th minute, Bison defender Jermaine Jarrett turned the ball over in his own box, but made up for it by hustling out to block the shot.

It was an evenly played first half, with both sides attempting six shots. Bucknell's Sean King sent a header wide from in close in the first minute. Princeton had the best chances in the middle part of the half. Rand made a great slide tackle or else Manny Sardinha would have been in alone in the 15th minute, and not long after that Caso had to make a tricky save to tip Devin Muntz's free kick over the crossbar.

Bucknell got a scare in the 30th minute when both captains, O'Brien and Patrick Selwood went down with injuries on the same sequence, but both remained in the game.

With about nine minutes left in the half Walburn bounced a left-footed volley just wide of the right post after a long throw-in.

McCabe made things happen after subbing in late in the half. With 7:30 left he outworked a Princeton player for the ball on the end line, dribbled in and sent a pass to a sliding Burgdorf, but the shot went wide. With 1:40 left in the half, McCabe delivered another good cross, but it just skipped past the outstretched studs of a sliding Josh Plump in front of the goal.

It was a satisfying win for Bucknell head coach Brendan Nash, who is a New Jersey native and grew up not far from the Princeton campus. The Bison have four New Jersey natives on the roster, including the goal-scorer Burgdorf.

Princeton finished with a 22-11 shot advantage (16-5 in the second half), including a 6-3 edge in shots on goal. Caso was credited with six saves, while Lynch had two.

Both teams took seven corner kicks, and Princeton led in fouls 11-8.

The Bucknell-Virginia game will be played at 1 p.m. in Charlottesville on Sunday. More details on a broadcast/webcast will be announced in the coming days.