Posted: November 1, 2008
BETHLEHEM, Pa. – Bucknell scored three unanswered goals to complete a huge comeback against the Mountain Hawks on Saturday at the Ulrich Sports Complex, rallying for a 3-2 win in a key Patriot League game. The loss drops Lehigh to 7-6-3 overall, and more importantly, to 2-2-2 in the Patriot League. The Mountain Hawks slip into sixth place in the league standings, while Bucknell improves to 8-7-3 overall and 3-3-0 in the league to move into fifth place.
“I told them I was hugely disappointed in them,” Lehigh head coach Dean Kosi said of his post-game conversation with his team. “If you give up three goals in a row you’re not beating anybody.”
Connor O’Brien’s second goal of the match put the Bison into the lead for the first time in the match. A Lehigh hand ball gave Bucknell a free kick from 22 yards out, and the junior blasted a shot to the right side of the net past the diving Lehigh keeper Jonathan Nydell. O’Brien moved into a tie with Chris Hennings for the team lead with seven goals on the season for the Bison.
The goal capped off a three-goal run for Bucknell that completed the comeback. Trailing by two goals in the 17th minute of play, the Bison needed an immediate spark, and O’Brien was there to provide it. Alex Russo led the Bison on an attack and found a sliding O’Brien for Bucknell’s first goal of the match.
“You have to give credit to Bucknell for coming back from down two goals early on,” Koski said. “They wanted this game more than we did, and it showed.”
The Mountain Hawks carried the 2-1 lead into the second half, when Dirk Swaneveld notched the equalizer for the Bison. Swaneveld’s blast from 20 yards deflected off the Lehigh defense and slipped past Nydell to knot the score at 2-2 in the 52nd minute.
It all started well for the Brown and White when Adam Welch deflected a Jim Taranto shot past Bucknell keeper Will Byrne for the game’s first goal in the sixth minute. Jordie Ciuffetelli sent a long throw into the box where Taranto was waiting on the left side. Taranto’s low shot bounced off Adam Welch and was sent into the right side of the net.
Just four minutes later, Lehigh extended its lead to two goals when Matt McNeil scored the second deflected goal of the night. Adam Gazda blasted a free kick from 30 yards and McNeil got a touch on the ball to send it into the top left portion of the goal.
Gazda had a second chance on a free kick from 20 yards out in the 80th minute that could have given the Mountain Hawks the equalizer. His shot appeared to be perfectly placed into the top left corner, but it deflected off the woodwork and Lehigh remained down 3-2.
The Mountain Hawks will have to put this game out of their minds quickly, as they still have a chance to qualify for the Patriot League tournament with a win on Saturday, Nov. 8, at Colgate.
“Now we’re going on the road to Colgate, which is about as tough as it gets,” Koski said. “We have to regroup and get back to work.”