Posted: September 5, 2008
PRINCETON, N.J. – Jim Taranto made sure that Princeton would not be able to celebrate the opening of its new field on Friday night. Taranto ruined the evening for the Tigers when he became the first player ever to score at Roberts Stadium.
Not only did the goal make Taranto the answer to a future trivia question, it gave the Mountain Hawks the lead, which they would not relinquish in a 2-1 victory. Lehigh now moves to 3-0-0 on the season after earning its first win on the road in 2008.
“A win on the road is always big,” Lehigh head coach Dean Koski said. “A win on the road against an Ivy League team is even bigger. A win on the road against a very good Ivy League team that’s very well coached is terrific.”
Mark Dangleis set it up for Taranto to make history, putting a cross on the money from 40 yards away that left the senior forward alone in front of the net. Taranto flipped a header to the lower left side of the goal, just outside the reach of the diving Princeton keeper Joe Walter.
“I asked Jimmy when was the last time he scored a head goal, and he said he thought it was high school,” Koski said. “But Jimmy was in a great spot, Dangleis played him a great ball and he did a great job to finish it.”
Kyle Evans put the game away for good with 6:49 remaining. Taranto and Evans moved the ball forward against a Princeton team that was doing anything to score. The aggressive play by the Tigers opened the field for Taranto to find Evans on the left side with a wide opening to score, and the Patriot League Preseason Offensive Player of the Year did not disappoint.
Jonathan Nydell was a force in net for the Mountain Hawks, totaling three saves in the victory. However, with the game nearly in hand, he surrendered his first goal of the season. Nydell had played the first 245:30 of the season without allowing a score.
“Jonathan did well,” Koski said. “This is good testing ground for him being in an environment like this, where fans are right behind him and jawing at him all game. I thought he handled it very well.”
Each team had its chances to score throughout the first half, but neither could break the deadlock for the first 45 minutes.
Lehigh almost got on the board early when Evans played a great ball over the heads of the Princeton defenders with 29 minutes remaining in the first half. Taranto headed the ball down just inside the 18-yard box and blasted a shot on goal.
On the ensuing corner kick, the Princeton defense boxed the ball around in front of the goal, where Patrick Cucci was able to fire a point blank shot off Walter. The deflection bounced out to the top of the box and Neal Melchionni fired a shot wide, leaving both teams scoreless.
Less than three minutes later, Princeton went on the attack with Brad Fechter charging up the right side. While nearly on the end line Fechter was able to get a hard shot off, forcing Nydell to make a diving save.
“I feel like we’re making progress,” Koski said. “We're only three games into the season we still have a lot to work on. The good news is it’s easier to work on those things when you’re winning than when you’re losing.”
Fans can catch a replay of this game and any other televised Lehigh men’s soccer game online at Lehighsports.com. The Mountain Hawks will hit the road again for a matchup with Fordham on Sunday at 1 p.m. in the Bronx, N.Y.