Former US Youth Soccer standouts help lead Bucknell to school-record 14 wins
November 1, 2009 09:00 PM
Bucknell University defeated Lafayette 1-0 on Friday night in front of a record crowd and Fox Soccer Channel cameras to bring their record to 14-4, a school best, and clinch a spot in the Patriot League conference tournament. Sophomore Luke Joyner (Dallas, Texas) scored the game's only goal in the 78th minute. Joyner was a member of the Andromeda club team that won back-to-back US Youth Soccer National Championships in 2007 and 2008. The Bison have now won nine of their last 10 matches, only No. 1 ranked Akron has more wins this season.
Bucknell is led by a cast of former US Youth Soccer Olympic Development Program (US Youth Soccer ODP) and National Championship participants. Senior midfielder, and co-captain, Conor O'Brien (Mt. Sinai, N.Y.) is leading the conference in goals and assists, and added to his tally with the assist on Friday. O'Brien, an Eastern New York US Youth Soccer ODP team member, was a key figure in the U-18 Terryville Fire's US Youth Soccer National Championship team in 2007. That year, O'Brien's late game heroics brought them back from a goal down versus Massachusetts late in the regional final, and the Fire then went on to claim the national title with two wins over the defending 3-time national champions Arsenal FC of California-South.
O'Brien was named the 2008 Patriot League Offensive Player of the Year and First Team All-Conference. With conference bests 10 goals and eight assists this season, O'Brien ranks in the top 20 nationally in points per game, and has been named to the Missouri Athletic Club Hermann Trophy Watch List, which is awarded to the best collegiate player.
Goalkeeper Tommy Caso (Phoenix, Md.) recorded his seventh shutout of the season Friday for the Bison. Caso also has US Youth Soccer National Championships on his resume as he tended goal for the Baltimore Casa Mia Bays as they won national championships in 2006 and 2009.
Bucknell secured the win and shutout despite the absence of senior co-captain and defender Patrick Selwood (Darnestown, Md.). Selwood is Bucknell's top defender, but was left out of the team with an illness. Selwood made an appearance at nationals as a member of the US Youth Soccer Region I Champion FC Delco Crunch in 2006, and was also a member of the Maryland US Youth Soccer ODP team.
The Bison now face third place Lehigh in their final game of the regular season. With a win, Bucknell will lock up the Patriot League regular season championship headed into the conference tournament.