Posted: October 18, 2008
BETHLEHEM, Pa. – The Lehigh men’s soccer team dropped a tightly-contested Patriot League match to the American Eagles Saturday night at the Ulrich Sports Complex. Mike Worden’s 67th-minute goal put the Eagles on the board, and American would hold on for the 1-0 victory.
The Eagles buckled down after the goal, and Matt Makowski registered one save for his fourth clean sheet of the season. With the loss, the Mountain Hawks move to 5-5-3 (1-1-2) while the Eagles improve to 6-5-2 (2-0-1).
“I was frustrated for our guys,” head coach Dean Koski said. “I felt like they had a hard time getting into any type of rhythm.”
Part of the reason for the lack of rhythm was the physical play by the Eagles. They ground play nearly to a halt and led the Mountain Hawks to play an equally physical game in response. By the end of the match, head referee Andrew Dennis had called 27 fouls on the two teams combined.
Neither team was able to break free for more than two thirds of the game, but when David Menzie found some open space on the right side, the door was opened for an American goal. Menzie flipped a perfect cross along the ground to Worden, who was being defended closely by Adam Welch, but Worden was able to drive the strike home for the game winner.
“Sometimes those things happen,” Koski said. “We want our guys to be in the right spots, and he was in the right spot.”
Adam Welch led all Lehigh players with four shots in the game, and Adam Gazda registered the only shot on goal for the Mountain Hawks. Welch had a chance in the first half when Jim Taranto played a ball to him inside the box. Welch got a foot on the ball and tipped it to the top part of the net, but his shot deflected high off the crossbar.
Lehigh’s first league loss drops them to a tie for fifth place in the league with Lafayette, just out of the playoff picture for now.
“We’re certainly not out of anything yet,” Koski said. “We just have to make sure we stay focused on the Patriot League games we have left.”
Lehigh returns to action on Tuesday when it plays host to the Penn State Nittany Lions at the Ulrich Sports Complex.