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2019 Men’s College Lacrosse Year In Review: #43 Bucknell Bison

The Bison improved as the season went on, resulting in a trip back to the Patriot League Tournament.

Bucknell Athletics

With the 2019 college lacrosse season complete, it’s time to look back at how all 73 teams did during the season, along with an early look at each squad for 2020.

Note: These are not end of season rankings.

Here’s our last five Year In Review posts we’ve done:

To see all of our posts, check out the 2019 Year In Review section on the site.

Let’s continue our 2019 Year In Review!

#43 Bucknell Bison

Conference: Patriot League
2019 Record: 6-9 (4-4 in Patriot League)
Postseason: Lost to Boston University in Patriot League Quarterfinals
Head coach: Frank Fedorjaka (14th Season)

Statistical Leaders

Goals: Will Yorke (34)
Assists: Tom Smith (13)
Points: Will Yorke (45)
Faceoffs: Jarett Witzal (154-of-322; 47.8%)
Ground balls: Jarett Witzal (96)
Caused turnovers: Conor Shears (25)
Goals against average: Christian Klipstein (10.61 GAA)
Save percentage: Christian Klipstein (54.4%)

Personnel Losses

Key seniors departing: G Christian Klipstein (10.61 GAA, 54.4% SV %, 43 GBs, 13 CTs), M Reed Malas (13 Gs, 12 As, 27 GBs, 4 CTs), M Tom Smith (18 Gs, 13 As, 22 GBs, 3 CTs), FOGO Jarett Witzal (47.8% FOs, 96 GBs, 2 CTs), M Ryan Durkin (11 Gs, 9 As, 10 GBs, 3 CTs), SSDM Brad Landry (3 CTs, 10 GBs), D Alec Talarico (3 CTs, 6 GBs)
Senior scoring departing: 78 of 238 points (32.8%)
Senior starts lost: 64 of 150 (42.7%)

Season Summary

It was tough to match a remarkable 2018 season for Bucknell. The team lost a good chunk of their talent, including Will Sands, to graduation. Along with Sands and two of their other leading scorers, the Bison also lost their three starting defenders.

The midfield was the most experienced unit led by senior Reed Malas. Malas, along with Tom Smith and Ryan Durkin, were all seniors and were the top midfield line for most of the season. Senior Brad Landry and junior Matt Fedorjaka were two of the main short stick defensive midfielders as well. But injuries limited the midfield during parts of the season.

The majority of the season was not good for Bucknell. Entering April, the team was 2-8 with a 1-4 record in Patriot League play. Their wins came against Bryant and Holy Cross. But when the attack and defense began to gel, the Bison were playing some of their best lacrosse, on their way to beating Marist, Lafayette, Lehigh, and Colgate to get into the Patriot League Tournament with a 4-4 record in conference play. But the season ended with another loss to Boston University in the conference quarterfinals.

While the midfield had the experience, the offense was fairly new for the beginning of the season. But Will Yorke, Tommy Sopko, and Alston Tarry provided to be big down the stretch. Each registered at least 25 goals and 35 points on the season. Freshman Matthew Barkauskas began the season at attack before shifting to midfield and contributed well with 10 goals and 16 points.

The defense returned a veteran unit led by Conor Shears, Bryant Boswell, and Alec Talarico. Freshman Drew Wellington started nine games on the back end of the season. Christian Klipstein started another year behind the net in goal, while Jarett Witzal took the bulk of the faceoff duties.

Looking Ahead

Bucknell does not lose a ton of big impact players like it did this past season. The entire attack unit returns with Yorke coming in as a senior. Look for Barkauskas to be a key piece to the midfield, and keep an eye out for Grayson Burns, Colin O’Brien, J.J. Alicea, and Brendan Egan to take steps forward and looking to play supporting roles on the Bison offense.

Shears, Boswell, and Wellington all return at close defense, as does LSMs Hunter Newman and Travis Talarico, as well as Fedorjaka and Nick Clarke at SSDM.

Witzal and Klipstein were long-time players on Bucknell’s roster and will be two important holes to fill. Rising sophomore Nick Crovatto is a returning option at the faceoff X, while rising junior Ben Clark and rising sophomore Jack Van Slyke are options in goal. Clark played in over 18 minutes this season as a reserve goaltender.


How many wins will Bucknell get in 2020?

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  • 13%
    (9 votes)
  • 17%
    (12 votes)
  • 46%
    (31 votes)
  • 22%
    (15 votes)
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