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Patriot League Pre Season: Bucknell Bison

Could this be the year the Bison overtake the PL?

European Bison Project Seeks A Return To The Wild Photo by Thomas Lohnes/Getty Images

Pre Season

Bucknell played in the Bob Kemp Classic where the Bison held their own against Cornell. The Bison conclude their fall slate on Sunday when they head to Michigan to face the Wolverines.

Newcomers

Grayson Burns is one of the better freshmen attackmen in the country, and he will help replace some of the scoring Bucknell lost to graduation

Jack Gelinas is the most significant first year defender and he could find some time with Alex Spring and a few others graduated.

Who’s Out

Three of the top five scorers from last season are out in Sean Doyle, Thomas Flibotte, and Kyle Shanahan. Will Sands took a massive leap last season, however, and will look to expand on his 64 points from 2016.

Tommy O’Connor will be in his senior season and one of just two seniors playing regular time on the offense, along with Quinn Collison. Both will have key roles leading the offense, with Sands and Collison working on attack and O’Connor quarterbacking the midfield.

Challenges

It took two overtimes for the eventual Patriot League champion Loyola to down Bucknell in the semifinals of the Patriot League tournament. The Greyhounds are a team that made it to Championship Weekend, so it says a lot about the Bison to be able to challenge team.

Things are looking up for Bucknell, a team that has dramatically improved since the end of 2014 when it went 7-8. The Bison are a legitimate Patriot League contender that gave Loyola a run for its money last year.

However, even since last season, the conference is evolving as younger teams like Boston University, Lehigh, and Holy Cross looking to make some noise. The Bison won’t be sneaking up on anyone this year, even if they do contend for the Patriot League tournament.

A (Too Early) Projection

Sands is the leader of this team on offense, and how the junior midfielder goes is how the Bison will go. Bucknell proved to be a tough opponent all last season.

Matt Gilray will be the leader on defense again for the Bison, a team that held its last three opponents last season to under ten goals.

The Patriot League is competitive, and Bucknell is always difficult. They defeated Lehigh, Boston University, and Army in conference play. The Bison won five of their last six contests to qualify for the Patriot League tournament. They should be a top team again competing with the Lehighs and BUs and Armys for a playoff berth.