Posted: October 24, 2008
WEST POINT, N.Y. – The Lehigh men’s soccer team pulled out a nail-biting victory on the road Friday afternoon. The Mountain Hawks rallied to victory on a 90th minute goal from Kevin Strunk that gave the Brown and White the 1-0 win and three valuable points in the Patriot League standings.
“I think the most important thing is that we got a result,” Lehigh head coach Dean Koski said. “It was a real tough game for us. They did a really good job of defending us, and we had some good chances, but we just couldn’t finish.”
Things didn’t look so great for Lehigh (7-5-3, 2-1-2) on its trip to Army (2-11, 0-4). The Mountain Hawks knew they needed a win to improve their chances at making the Patriot League tournament, but they just couldn’t squeeze a shot past Army keeper A.J. Glubzinski for the first 89 minutes of play.
That’s when senior captain Adam Gazda stepped up for a free kick from 40 yards away. Gazda’s ball sailed deep into the Army end as regulation was nearing its end. Several players jumped up to play the free kick, but Strunk got his 6-foot-3 frame up high enough to head home the game-winner.
It was the first goal for the freshman midfielder, who earned his fourth start of the season on Friday.
“I think he just did a good job of winning that ball,” Koski said. “He got up and he was committed in the air. That was a big goal for us so good for him.”
With the win, Lehigh moves into third place with eight points earned in league play. All six other Patriot League teams will be in action on Saturday.
The Lehigh offense generated multiple opportunities throughout the match even though they were unable to score until the final minute. The Mountain Hawks outshot the Black Knights 16-7, including six shots on goal to just two for Army.
All six of Lehigh’s shots on goal came in the second half as they struggled to score in what was close to a must-win game on the Patriot League schedule.
Jonathan Nydell earned his fourth clean sheet of the season, stopping two shots on goal and earning his seventh win in goal for the Mountain Hawks.
“I think it wasn’t our best performance,” Koski said. “But we’ll take the result and go home. Army played as well as they could have played. They had a good game-plan for us and they’re a really good team despite their record.”
The Mountain Hawks return to the pitch for their final home game on Saturday, November 1. Lehigh will honor its seniors at the Ulrich Sports Complex when the Bucknell Bison come to town at 7 p.m.