NCAA Team Reviews: Bucknell Bison

Photo credit to Marc Hagemeier
Photo credit to Marc Hagemeier

For the better part of four months, many of us watched some exciting college lacrosse, whether it was on TV, online, or in person.  There were good games, which included all of Championship Weekend, and there were bad games, such as low scoring affairs and of course, the horrendous winter weather.  I take a look back at all 69 Division I teams and how they fared this season and what to look forward to in 2016.

Check out previous recaps: NJIT Highlanders, UMass Lowell River Hawks, VMI Keydets, Manhattan Jaspers, Canisius Golden Griffins, Robert Morris Colonials, St. John’s Red Storm, Wagner Seahawks, Binghamton Bearcats, Bellarmine Knights, Jacksonville Dolphins, Furman Paladins, Lafayette Leopards, Rutgers Scarlet Knights, Mount St. Mary’s Mountaineers, Siena Saints, Delaware Blue Hens, UMBC Retrievers, Dartmouth Big Green, Providence Friars, Mercer Bears, Penn State Nittany Lions, Hofstra Pride, Michigan Wolverines, UMass Minutemen, Monmouth Hawks, Vermont Catamounts, Sacred Heart Pioneers, Holy Cross Crusaders, Penn Quakers, Villanova Wildcats, Boston Terriers, Quinnipiac Bobcats, Hartford Hawks, Hobart Statesmen, Lehigh Mountain Hawks, Drexel Dragons, Harvard Crimson, Loyola Greyhounds, Air Force Falcons, Detroit Titans, Fairfield Stags


2014 Record 7-8
2014 Conference Record 4-4 (5th in Patriot)
2014 Scoring Offense 8.80 Goals Per Game (52nd in DI)
2014 Scoring Defense 8.67 Goals Against Per Game (14th in DI)
2014 Goals Leaders #3 Sean Doyle – Sophomore (24 Gs)
#16 Todd Heritage – Senior (24 Gs)
2014 Assists Leader #41 David Dickson – Junior (28 As)
2014 Points Leader #41 David Dickson – Junior (43 Pts)
2014 Goaltending Leader #1 Sam Grinberg – Junior (.563 SV %)
2014 Face-Off Leader #27 Eric Monfort – Sophomore (.373 FO %)
2014 Ground Balls Leader #2 Alex Spring – Sophomore (57 GBs)
2014 Caused Turnovers Leader #17 Jackson Place – Senior (38 CTs)
2014 Quality Wins Navy (9-6), Boston (7-3)
2014 Bad Losses Bryant (12-9), Colgate (9-8, 10-9 2 OT – Patriot Quarterfinal)


2015 Record 9-6
2015 Conference Record 5-3 (3rd in Patriot)
2015 Scoring Offense 9.60 Goals Per Game (T41st in DI)
2015 Scoring Defense 9.93 Goals Against Per Game (26th in DI)
2015 Goals Leader #9 Ryan Joseph – Senior (27 Gs)
2015 Assists Leader #41 David Dickson – Senior (30 As)
2015 Points Leader #41 David Dickson – Senior (45 Pts)
2015 Goaltending Leader #1 Sam Grinberg – Senior (.510 SV %)
2015 Face-Off Leader #38 Gavin Sullivan – Senior (.440 FO %)
2015 Ground Balls Leader #2 Alex Spring – Junior (75 GBs)
2015 Caused Turnovers Leader #2 Alex Spring – Junior (23 CTs)
2015 Quality Wins Brown (10-9 OT), Loyola (10-9 OT)
2015 Bad Losses Delaware (12-11), Mount St. Mary’s (12-11)


It wasn’t similar to their impressive 12-4 campaign in 2013, but the Bison improved from their 6-8 performance in 2014 with a 9-6 record in 2015, which was also good enough for 3rd in the very competitive Patriot League. But for a second straight year, Bucknell could not get past Colgate in the league tournament, falling to them in the semifinals this time around and by a large margin. Scoring remained the same for the most part, as David Dickson led the team in scoring with 45 points, up just two from last season. The offense scored almost a goal per game more than they did in 2014, while the defense followed and gave up one more goal per game than they did in 2014. With most of the leaders being seniors this season, junior LSM Alex Spring led the team in groundballs and caused turnovers. He’ll stick around to help the defense in 2016.

Bucknell opened the season up against Delaware in Newark. The team looked strong early, shutting out the Blue Hens 5-0 in the opening quarter and leading 11-9 entering the 4th quarter, but three Blue Hen tallies gave Delaware the surprising 12-11 win. Bucknell would come back with two impressive wins, first against Bryant, followed by Navy in their Patriot League opener. Sean Doyle gave the Bison the win with his goal with 51 seconds left in the game against the Midshipmen. Bucknell still couldn’t beat Colgate, falling to them 10-8 before a thrilling overtime victory on the road against Lehigh. Connor O’Hara tied the game at eight with 26 seconds to play to force the game into overtime, where Ryan Joseph untied it with only nine seconds left in the first extra session. Joseph gave the Bison another thrilling victory, scoring the game-winner with 1:51 left in their game against Fairfield three days later, before beating Holy Cross 15-6. Their crazy schedule would continue with another Tuesday matchup, this time in Providence against then-undefeated Brown. The Bison scored two goals in the final quarter to send the game to overtime, where Thomas Flibotte scored the game-winner with 2:15 left to give Brown their first loss of the season. The crazy stretch of five games in two weeks ended with a loss to Boston 11-9. That would follow with a blowout loss to Army, then another shocking one-goal loss, this time to Mount St. Mary’s. Similar to their season opening loss, the Mountaineers scored three goals in the 4th quarter to rally past the Bison. They almost extended their losing streak the following week against Lafayette, but an Alex Ryan goal with 23 seconds to play gave the Bison their first win in four games. They ended the regular season at home against Loyola, where the Bison would score two goals in 1:06 in the last 1:30 of the final quarter to send the game into overtime, where Sean Doyle would give Bucknell the 10-9 win and a date with Lehigh in the Patriot League Quarterfinals in Lewisburg. While Bucknell dominated the Mountain Hawks, they could not get past Colgate again, as they fell to the Raiders 18-5 in the semifinals.

Bucknell will have to regroup following their performance last season as well as dealing with losses on both sides of the ball, including goaltender Sam Grinberg. The Patriot League is a tough conference to play in, with teams such as Navy, Boston, and Holy Cross gaining talent and catching up to teams like Colgate, Army West Point, and Loyola that have already made themselves as dominant programs. They can’t suffer to have a slow start in league play next season and will have to gain steam early to survive the tough conference schedule.


Reed Malas Attack/Midfield Mamaroneck (NY)
Christian Klipstein Goalie Rutgers Prep (NJ)
Jordy Elardo Midfield/FO McDonogh (MD)
Jarrett Witzal Midfield/FO Landon (MD)
Peter Gerhard Midfield Ranney (NJ)
Ryan Durkin Midfield Jamesville-DeWitt (NY)
Alex Talarico Defense/LSM Bergen Catholic (NJ)
Tom Smith Attack Rutgers Prep (NJ)
Quinn Burnett Attack Piedmont (CA)
Marshall Dickson Attack Brunswick School (CT)
Joey Altemus Goalie Georgetown Prep (MD)

The Bison will replace nine departing players with 11 incoming recruits. The Bison have some very good recruits coming in for 2016, including Reed Malas. Malas is on Ty Xanders’ watchlist of best seniors of 2015. Bucknell also brings in two FOGOs from the Maryland area in Jordy Elardo of McDonogh and Jarrett Witzal of Landon. Both schools had great seasons, which were helped by their respective face-off men. And with Grinberg departing, the Bison bring in two goalies in Christian Klipstein of Rutgers Prep and Joey Altemus of Georgetown Prep. Altemus helped the Little Hoyas to an appearance in the IAC Championship in his first season as the starter. Joey is also the younger brother of Princeton sophomore midfielder Bear Altemus.