LEWISBURG, Pa. - Patrick Christensen's extra-man goal 51 seconds into sudden-death overtime lifted Bucknell to a stunning 8-7 victory over second-ranked Navy on Saturday afternoon at snowy Christy Mathewson-Memorial Stadium. Navy, a national finalist last season that was coming off back-to-back wins over No. 14 Ohio State and No. 7 North Carolina, is the highest-ranked opponent the Bison have beaten in the 38-year history of the program.
Christensen finished with three goals and an assist, while Steve Case had a goal and three assists, including the feed on the game-winner. Chris Cara and Kirk Klett logged two goals apiece for the Bison (2-1, 1-0), who became the first Patriot League team to defeat Navy since the Midshipmen joined the league last season.
Ben Horn scored three goals and Graham Gill registered three assists for Navy (3-1, 0-1).
"What a tremendous team effort," said head coach Sid Jamieson afterward. "Our defense was strong all day long, and our offense did a terrific job possessing the ball and creating scoring chances. Navy is obviously one of the top lacrosse programs in the country right now, so this was a very special victory."
Bucknell trailed 7-4 late in the third period before scoring the final four goals of the day, and it never led until Christensen's sudden-death tally. With thick snow flakes dancing about the stadium, Chistensen's whirling shot bounced over the shoulder of Matt Russell, setting off a wild celebration at midfield.
It was a very similar play - an interior feed from Case to Christensen -- that helped start the Bucknell comeback with 11 seconds left in the third quarter. Then just 53 seconds into the fourth, Cara came from behind the net for an unassisted goal to make it 7-6.
Perhaps the defining play of the day for Bucknell occurred at the midpoint of the final period, when Klett clocked a clearing defender 20 yards in front of the Navy goal, scooped up the loose ball and scored to tie the game at 7-apiece.
The final seven minutes featured numerous possession changes. Bucknell took control with a minute to go and played for the final shot, but Russell stopped Cara's shot in traffic and Nick Marks' desperation shot at the buzzer was off the mark.
Navy controlled the overtime faceoff, but on a scramble to the left of the Bison cage Graham Gill was called for a pushing penalty. Bucknell gained possession at midfield and potted the game-winner 19 seconds later.
Bucknell was slow out of the gates offensively, as the Midshipmen took a 3-0 lead on two goals by Horn and one by Steve Looney. The Bison got on the board four minutes into the second quarter on Klett's goal off a pass from Christensen. Case made it 3-2 with an unassisted marker with 6:43 to play in the second, but Nick Marabito and Billy Looney scored 1:18 apart to restore Navy's three-goal cushion.
The Bison pulled within 5-4 at the half on goals by Christensen and Cara in the final 4:08.
Bucknell outshot Navy 44-29 and received 11 saves from Matt Baran, including a key point-blank stop on Marabito with the Bison trailing 7-6 in the fourth quarter.
Navy controlled 11 of the 19 faceoffs and won the ground ball battle 41-38. The Mids went 2-for-4 with a man up, while the Bison were 2-for-8.
Bucknell faces yet another top-10 team at home on Tuesday, when sixth-ranked Maryland visits Christy Mathewson-Memorial Stadium at 3 p.m.
Bucknell vs. Navy