There are some big games coming up this weekend, but not to be lost in the shuffle is the fact that the Bucknell men’s and women’s basketball teams both start their official practices. The men get going on Saturday, while the women start on Sunday.
NCAA regulations have changed a bit through the years, with coaches now allowed to conduct team conditioning workouts and individual instruction prior to the official start of practice. So it’s not like Nathan Davis and Aaron Roussell are just now seeing their players for the first time, but now all the restrictions are removed in terms of being able to work on offensive and defensive strategy, film review, etc.
Both Bison teams captured Patriot League regular-season titles last year, but both groups also feel like they have some unfinished business after suffering upsets in the Patriot League Tournament. We will have more in-depth season previews as we get closer to the start of the season, but for now it will be interesting to follow what should be very focused preseason camps.
Continue reading “Hoops on the Horizon”
A few notebook items on a melancholy Monday. This blog focuses on Bucknell athletics, but we are all sports fans here, which means we endured a difficult day yesterday. First, we awoke to the news of the tragic death of Miami Marlins pitcher Jose Fernandez. Later in the day, we learned of the passing of golf legend Arnold Palmer. In the span of just a few hours, we lost one of the greatest sportsmen of all time, and, shockingly, a 24-year-old kid who might have become one someday. Fernandez was already an icon to many, particularly to those in the Cuban community in South Florida. Continue reading “Monday Odds & Ends”
The Bucknell field hockey team has had a few “sister acts” in recent years. Two senior co-captains on the great 2014 team that captured the Patriot League regular-season title were Liz Wills and Kelsey Mucelli. Their younger sisters, Anna Wills and Amy Mucelli, were both sophomores on that team, and both were poised for stardom themselves. Today, Anna and Amy are co-captains on a team that has similar aspirations to the 2014 squad.
The Bison enter Sunday’s game at Monmouth with a 4-3 record against a very difficult schedule. The losses have come against No. 4 Penn State, No. 15 Princeton and a strong Saint Joseph’s team. The victories include a thrilling 3-2 overtime win over No. 12 Albany, a season-opening 2-0 shutout of Rutgers, and a 2-1 road win over Lehigh in the Patriot League opener last week.
Two more top-10 opponents are still on the horizon in No. 1 Syracuse and No. 9 Boston University, but the Bison have shown well thus far. Boston University, American and Lafayette, typically the three other challengers for the Patriot League title along with Bucknell, all come to Graham Field this year.
For Anna Wills, she is doing much more than trying to follow in her sister’s footsteps. She truly comes from a family of athletes. Anna’s mother, Elizabeth McCabe Wills, won an AIAW national championship with the La Salle field hockey team in 1980, and that team is enshrined in the La Salle Hall of Athletes. Anna’s older brother Brendan graduated from Bucknell in 2011 and was a member of the Bison swimming and diving team. Another brother, Frank, was a varsity swimmer at West Chester. Her grandfather played college soccer and a great-grandfather played professional baseball in the Philadelphia Athletics system.
Anna has done quite a good job forging her own legacy at Bucknell. She is in her fourth year as a starter and is now considered one of the Patriot League’s premier defenders. She earned First Team All-Patriot League honors last season, and was a member of the 2016 Preseason All-Patriot League Team. She is also a double-major in political science and film studies and has made the Patriot League Academic Honor Roll ever year so far. She was named to the Academic All-Patriot League Team in 2015.
We recently caught up with Anna to talk about her time at Bucknell so far.
Continue reading “Profiles from the Herd: Anna Wills”
This past Saturday we welcomed back to campus nearly 30 members of the 1996 Bucknell football team that captured the Patriot League championship. All three captains — George Howanitz, Brandon Little and Hall-of-Famer Richie Lemon — were back, and Carol Gadd-Marshall, wife of the late head coach Tom Gadd, came all the way in from Minnesota to help celebrate the 20-year anniversary of that memorable season.
We thought we would spend a few minutes taking a look back at 1996, which was capped off by one of the most dramatic victories in the 131-year history of Bison football.
Continue reading “Bison Rewind: the ’96 Championship Season”
Some great team and individual performances for the Bison last week! Two teams in particular — men’s water polo and women’s soccer — continued their red-hot starts. Field hockey won twice on the road, including their Patriot League opener. Men’s soccer earned a much-needed home win with league play looming next week. Women’s golf captured the team title at the Bucknell Invitational, while the men finished strong at Cornell after a slow start.
Continue reading “Rolling Right Along”
Ask any soccer coach to rank the most important positions on the field, and center back will always be at or near the top. Center backs are typically the last line of defense before the goalkeeper, and they generally spend much of the game keeping an eye on the other team’s dangerous striker. The best center backs have the physical blend of size and speed, they are great communicators, and they have enough technical skill to handle the ball coming out of the back once possession is gained. One lapse in focus can undermine 89 minutes of hard work.
Fortunately for head coach Brendan Nash and the Bison men’s soccer team, they have had a “rock” at center back for the last three years. Senior co-captain Zack Rockmore, that is. Playing a position that has long been a hotbed for Coach Nash (think back to guys like Mayowa Alli, Pat Selwood and Mike Lookingland), Zack has played nearly every minute of every game since arriving at Bucknell prior to the 2014 season.
Zack began his collegiate soccer career at Boston College, but injuries derailed his shot at a significant role with the Eagles, and he made the decision to transfer to Bucknell. He was immediately part of a Patriot League championship team in 2014, and then last year he earned Second Team All-Patriot League honors.
Last week we sat down with Zack and chatted about his journey to Bucknell, that magical championship run, and what he has learned about leadership along the way.
Continue reading “Profiles from the Herd: Zack Rockmore”
It’s not every day that you get to share a meal with an active NBA player. Yet we received just that very treat on Friday night when Mike Muscala ’13 returned to campus for the Second Annual Celebration of Bison Basketball dinner.
While Mike was the keynote speaker at the jam-packed event, he was not the only well-known alum in attendance. The guest list included several Hall-of-Famers, including Mike Joseph ’90, Pat Flannery ’80, Ellis Harley ’59, Mickey Melberger ’61 (football), Lori Houck Steigerwald ’00 (women’s basketball) and former Bucknell president Gary Sojka. Chris McNaughton ’07, Abe Badmus ’07 and John Griffin ’08 represented Bucknell’s great teams that won games in the NCAA Tournament a decade ago. Dave Steigerwald ’96, Kevin Wenk ’96, Ed Sigl ’84, Chuck Carroll ’68, Chris Riley ’71 and John Rodgers ’67 were also back with us.
Continue reading “Moose Crossing”