Heading into the season we were selected by the Patriot League to finish 2nd in the preseason poll. We had 4 Bison, Meghan Holtz, Jessica Ratner, Jackie Ham, and Kendall Ham selected to the Preseason All-Patriot League Team, with Kendall receiving the Preseason Offensive Player of the Year nod. We set forth into our non-conference schedule with a handful of challenging opponents ahead of us, including reigning MAAC Champions Monmouth University as well as Syracuse University from the ACC.
We finished our 1st segment of the season fending off seven non-conference opponents, with wins against Monmouth, St. Francis, Wright State, Syracuse, Mount St. Mary's, Iona, and a tie against Rider. After accumulating 22 goals in just seven games, we were off to the best start in program history heading into Patriot League play at 7-0-1.
THE BATTLE VS. BOSTON
Heading into Patriot League play, we were pinned up against Boston University in a rematch of last year's championship game. After being on the devastating end of a 1-0 result last November, we managed to turn the tide with a 2-0 win to kick off league play. With an early goal from junior Maddie Mulford, a late insurance tally by senior Alexis Gannon, and a series of heroic saves by senior Jessica Ratner to keep the clean sheet, we preserved the win at home on Emmitt Varsity Field and started the league at 1-0.
In a physical battle between 2 competitive Patriot League opponents, a goal by Kendall Ham with a second left on the clock in overtime gave us the win up in Hamilton, NY. After back and forth play throughout the 90-minute regulation, including an early goal from Maddie Mulford and an equalizer halfway through the 1st half, we were taken to overtime to fight for our 10th win of the season. After another gritty 9 minutes and 59 seconds, Kendall took down a corner kick from Karli Cirovski and put it in the back of the net to seal the win before heading off to Navy for another extremely competitive Patriot League matchup.
BUCKNELL TOPS NAVY 2-1 IN OVERTIME
For the 2nd week in a row, Kendall Ham put us ahead in overtime to earn us the 2-1 win against Navy away in Annapolis, MD. Her goal came just seconds after Navy kicked off the overtime into Jessica Ratner's arms for her punt down the field. Kendall gave us the winning goal just 22 seconds into the period, coming from Ratner's first career assist. What cannot go without mention despite the theatrics of the final moments is senior Cora Climo's bomb from outside of the box, going into the far corner just 47 seconds into the 2nd half.
Goals Pile Up as Bison Record Wins Against American and Loyola
After a couple of grueling wins on the road, we hosted the American University Eagles in an afternoon game on Emmitt. Thanks to an early goal in the first 5 minutes by Maddie Mulford, and then a flurry of 3 goals by Casey Gray, Bailey Hurst, and Kendall Ham within 8 minutes of one another, we took a 4-0 lead with a bulk of the 2nd half left to play. A 5th goal by Gabby Bair left the scoreline at 5-1 as we hoped to take our goal-scoring momentum down to Loyola for a tough midweek matchup.
In yet another early-scoring performance, we were up 3-0 at the half down in Maryland as a result of goals by Alexis Gannon, Kendall Ham, and Gabby Bair. These 3 goals kept us rolling as the top goal-scoring team in NCAA Division I Women's Soccer. Despite a dry 2nd half, we kept the clean sheet to notch our 9th shutout of the season, remaining in the country's top 10 scoring defenses per goals against average.
SIX SENIORS HONORED ON SENIOR DAY AS SAM POWERS, KELSEY WITT, SARAH BRESETTE, ALEXIS GANNON, JESSICA RATNER, AND CORA CLIMO PLAY THEIR FINAL REGULAR SEASON GAME ON EMMITT
In our last home regular season game, we suffered a 3-2 loss to Lehigh after fighting back to score 2 goals in the 2nd half to close a 3-0 deficit. Despite the result, we honored and thanked our seniors for the tremendous contributions that they have made in their 4 seasons as Bucknell Bison. We then looked ahead to our next week where we faced regional powerhouse Princeton University and closed out our regular season away at Army, where a win would solidify our hosting of the Patriot League Tournament.
BISON BOUNCE BACK FROM LOSS WITH TIE AGAINST PRINCETON TIGERS
2 of our most potent attackers, once again, showed their offensive prowess as Maddie Mulford recorded a point, for the 11th straight game (longest streak in Bucknell history), by assisting Kendall Ham's 14th goal of the season to finish out the regular season without a loss on the road. Senior goalkeeper Jessica Ratner came up with 6 crucial saves over the course of 110 minutes, allowing us to come away with a 1-1 decision. With a tough tie against a quality opponent under our belt, we shifted our focus to our final Patriot League regular season match, where a result would determine our fate for the tournament seeding.
Bison Advance to the Finals of the Patriot League Tournament with a 2-0 Win Against Lafayette
Entering the semifinals, we had outscored our opponents 47-10 on the year. We added to this statistic with 2 goals, one in each half, and a blank sheet on the defensive end to advance into the finals on Sunday afternoon. After their win against Navy, we found ourselves slated against Boston University for a rematch of last year's championship game.
With a 2-1 Overtime Win, Bison Win the Patriot League Tournament Title for the First Time in 11 Years
A golden goal in the 95th minute by Patriot League Tournament MVP, Cora Climo, gave us our 1st Patriot League Tournament Championship in over a decade. After going up 1-0 in the 2nd half, only to be brought back to even less than a minute later, we fought back to get the go-ahead goal after a gutsy performance across the board. Patriot League All-Tournament nods went to Cora Climo, Kelsey Witt, Jessica Ratner, and Jackie Ham as we went to 16-1-2 on the season with both the regular season and tournament titles. This record landed us among the nation's most elite, with only 4 other programs suffering just 1 loss on the year heading into the NCAA tournament.
2016 TEAM ACCOMPLISHMENTS
- Patriot League Tournament Champions
- Patriot League Regular Season Champions
- Best final season record in program history at 16-2-2
- 5th Highest Scoring Offense in NCAA Division I Women's Soccer
- Final season RPI of 46 out of 334 NCAA Division I Programs
- Led the Patriot League in goals (by a margin of 16) and assists (by a margin of 17)
2016 INDIVIDUAL AWARDS AND HONORS
- NSCAA All-American (Bucknell's First Ever): Kendall Ham
- NSCAA Regional Staff of the Year for Division I Institutions
- NSCAA All-Region Selections: Karli Cirovski, Kendall Ham, and Jessica Ratner
- NSCAA Academic All-American: Kendall Ham
- PL Coach of the Year: Kelly Cook
- PL Offensive Player of the Year: Kendall Ham
- PL Goalkeeper of the Year: Jessica Ratner
- PL All-League First Team: Kendall Ham, Jessica Ratner, Maddie Mulford and Karli Cirovski
- PL All-League Second Team: Alexis Gannon, Jackie Ham and Meghan Holtz
- PL All-League Third Team: Ali Russo
- PL Tournament MVP: Cora Climo
- PL All-Tournament Team: Cora Climo, Kelsey Witt, Jackie Ham, and Jessica Ratner
- PL Scholar-Athlete of the Year: Kendall Ham
- PL Academic All-League: Kendall Ham, Jackie Ham, Alexis Gannon
- CoSIDA Academic All-Americans: Kendall Ham and Alexis Gannon
- CoSIDA Academic All-District Team: Kendall Ham, Alexis Gannon, Jackie Ham
FOR THE (BUCKNELL WOMEN'S SOCCER) RECORD...
- Most Single Season Wins (16)
- Most Consecutive Wins (9)
- Longest Unbeaten Streak (14)
- Best Winning Percentage (.850)
- Best Goals Against Average (0.56)
- 1st in Single Season GK Wins: Jessica Ratner
- 1st in Career Shutouts: Jessica Ratner
- Tied for 1st in Most Career GK Wins: Jessica Ratner
- Most Consecutive Contests with At Least 1 Point: Maddie Mulford
- 2nd in Single Season Goals Against Average Record: Jessica Ratner (2nd to herself year prior)
- 2nd in Single Season Shutout Record: Jessica Ratner (2nd to herself year prior)
- 2nd in Single Season Assists Record: Maddie Mulford
- 3rd in Single Season Points Record: Kendall Ham
- 3rd in Single Season Goals Record: Kendall Ham
- 3rd in Single Season Save Percentage Record: Jessica Ratner
- 4th in Career 3+ Goal Games: Kendall Ham