Posted: October 4, 2008
ANNAPOLIS, Md. – Jim Taranto didn’t wait long to give the Mountain Hawks their first Patriot League lead in 2008, scoring in the first minute of play on Saturday against Navy. The Lehigh defense handled the rest, shutting out the Midshipmen, 3-0, for the team’s first league win of the season.
Lehigh had gone five matches without a win, after moving to 3-0 on September 5, against Princeton. The Mountain Hawks now sit at 4-3-2 on the season, with a 1-0-1 record in the Patriot League.
Taranto’s goal was his fourth of the season (assisted by Adam Gazda and Matt McNeil), and gave the Mountain Hawks a lead that they would not relinquish.
“On the road I think it’s huge,” Koski said of Taranto’s early goal. “It changes the dynamic of the game a little bit, but I think we stayed relatively level. It was great to get that first goal, but it was even more important to build on it.”
The Mountain Hawks built on the goal with two more insurance goals that put the game away for good. Ross Burki’s 50th minute goal doubled the lead in the second half on another assist from Gazda.
In the 71st minute, the scoring tandem of Taranto and Kyle Evans hooked up for one more goal for good measure. This time it was Evans who did the scoring, on an assist from Taranto, who leads the team with 13 points on the season.
While the three goals certainly helped, the biggest number on the day may have been zero: the number of goals allowed by the Lehigh defense.
“I thought we sharpened things up on defense,” Koski said. “They did a much better job of making sure we didn’t give the ball away in the final third, and they did a good job of locking down on defense.”
Lehigh goalkeeper Jonathan Nydell recorded five saves in all 90 minutes between the posts. He recorded his third shutout of the season, after opening up the year with consecutive shutouts at home.
Most importantly, Lehigh was able to earn its first league win on the road, which is never an easy task in the Patriot League.
“It’s really important that we got three points on the road,” Koski said. “I think the guys did well to come ready to play today.”
Lehigh returns to action on Tuesday, when the Mountain Hawks will take on Penn at 7 p.m. at the Ulrich Sports Complex. Tune in to Lehighsports.com for live video coverage of the matchup with Steve Lomangino providing the commentary.