Posted: September 7, 2008
BETHLEHEM, Pa. – The Lehigh men’s soccer team faced its toughest challenge of the year on Sunday, trailing by one goal on the road to Fordham, before battling back for a 2-2 draw.
Two consecutive Fordham goals gave the Mountain Hawks their first deficit of the 2008 season. Trailing, 2-1, Jim Taranto played the ball to Kyle Evans, who scored on a hard left-footed shot to the far post to tie the game in the 77th minute.
“It certainly showed a little bit of character,” Lehigh head coach Dean Koski said. “We had to make some adjustments and we never gave up.”
For the second consecutive weekend, Lehigh was forced to make a quick turnaround and play two matches in three days. The rough schedule kept the Mountain Hawks from finding a rhythm early, but they were still able to earn a point on the road.
The draw gives Lehigh a 3-0-1 record on the season and extends the Mountain Hawks’ unbeaten streak to four games.
“To come back from behind on the road is very good,” Koski said. “Any result on the road is good, so I have no complaints.”
Taranto opened up the scoring for the Brown and White with his third goal of the season in the 48th minute. Neal Melchionni struck a hard cross on the ground, past the outstretched arms of the Fordham keeper, to Taranto in front of an open net to get the Mountain Hawks on the scoreboard.
But Fordham didn’t give up, and quickly turned the complexion of the game in the second half. Tim Richardson put the Rams on the board with a goal in the 72nd minute, and just 24 seconds later, Abe Chehebar put Fordham on top for the first time.
It took the late heroics from Evans and Taranto for Lehigh to come back to earn a point on the road. And for Koski, it was no surprise that his two forwards put the team on their shoulders in the late minutes.
“I thought Kyle and Jimmy really helped us out on the offensive end,” Koski said. “We need them to step up when the team is struggling, and that’s why they’re two of the best forwards in the league.”
The Mountain Hawks will get back to action on Friday, September 12, when they travel to Columbia, South Carolina. There, they will play South Carolina and Presbyterian in the University of South Carolina Tournament.