Coming off two big back-to-back wins over Cornell and Albany, the No. 6 Bucknell Bison will host No. 17 Penn State Tuesday evening in Lewisburg, Pennsylvania.
Bucknell has suffered only one loss this season, a one-goal thriller against Mount St. Mary's in their second game of the season. Since then, the Bison have reeled off seven-straight wins, putting them at 8-1 on the year. The win over Cornell validated Bucknell's impressive record and was reason enough to see them fly up the national polls this week.
Penn State, 5-3 so far, is a talented team that has lacked consistency and went through a three-game losing streak already this season. These losses came to Notre Dame, Ohio State, and Lehigh, who are all big-time contenders this year.
The Nittany Lions have knocked off Denver and UMass, and now head into a tough stretch in their schedule. Bucknell will certainly be a barometer game for Jeff Tambroni's squad, who needs to be playing at a higher level down the stretch.
Following the game with Bucknell, Penn State will face Villanova and Drexel, teams that have also lacked consistency but have big wins in 2013.
Bucknell will lean on goal scorer Todd Heritage as they look to climb even higher in the polls this week. The junior has 23 goals and three assists so far, while sophomore midfielder David Dickson has five goals and 26 assists on the year. They have worked together well, and are the catalysts for the Bison offense.
Senior goaltender Kyle Feeney has played good lacrosse this year, saving 78 shots so far on his way to a 54 percent save rate. He will look to turn up his game as Bucknell will certainly have some close games coming up.
Penn State is led by senior attacker Jack Forster, who leads the team with 28 points on 19 goals and nine assists. TJ Sanders, a crafty Canadian goal-scorer has 20 goals and three assists thus far. They will look to test Feeney early and often, as Penn State looks for a big win away from home. Penn State has also seen good play in goal, as Austin Kaut has recorded a 59 percent save rate in their eight games this year.
Look for this to be a close one as both teams are coming off a short rest period. Maybe a slow start for both offenses, but look for Bucknell to prevail. The Bison are in position to get a fantastic seed in the tournament, so a trip up here would be devastating.