Posted: November 8, 2008
HAMILTON, N.Y. – When the Mountain Hawks took the field on Saturday night at Colgate, they knew Lafayette had already clinched the fourth and final playoff spot in the Patriot League tournament. The Mountain Hawks came out trying to finish the season on a high note, but the Raiders had a lot more to play for, and Colgate pulled away for the 2-0 win to clinch home field advantage in the tournament.
“We knew the game didn’t have any bearing on the Patriot League tournament,” Koski said. “But it was important to us to finish on a winning note. So, in that end it was a disappointing result.”
Lehigh was eliminated from postseason contention when Lafayette and Holy Cross battled to a scoreless tie this afternoon in Easton. The draw gave the Leopards the one point they badly needed to advance to the next round, and left Lehigh on the outside for the second-straight season.
The Mountain Hawks battled throughout the match, but it was a Colgate goal in the 62nd minute that broke the 0-0 deadlock. Alex Weeks was able to slip in just behind the Lehigh defense and drive home a goal past sophomore Lehigh keeper Jonathan Nydell to give the Raiders a 1-0 lead in the second half.
That’s when Lehigh had to start getting aggressive, knowing it had to score a road goal to walk away with at least a draw. They started moving forwards up to push for that score, which left an opening for Weeks to drive home his second goal of the night off a cross from Jeff Leach.
“When you go down in the second half it changes the way you operate,” Koski said. “That definitely exposes you on the defensive side.”
The loss drops the Mountain Hawks to 7-7-3 on the season, with a 2-3-2 record in the Patriot League. With the win, the Raiders move into first place in the Patriot League standings with a 10-5-3 record overall and a 4-1-1 league record. Colgate will now host the Patriot League tournament next weekend in Hamilton.
While the Mountain Hawks were not able to finish on that winning note, Koski said he was pleased with the effort his team put forth.
“Ultimately our goal was to be competitive, and I thought we were able to do that tonight,” Koski said. “Did we finish on a great note? No, but to some extent we learned how to be more competitive. They played like they cared tonight”
Senior Adam Gazda finishes the season with the team lead in goals with six, and he also finishes tied with fellow senior Jim Taranto for the top mark in points with 15. Taranto racked up seven assists to go with his four goals to easily lead the team as the top distributor.
With their appearances in Saturday’s match, seven Mountain Hawks played in all 16 of Lehigh’s games this season. Freshman Neal Melchionni was the only rookie to start all 16 games, joining Taranto, Gazda, Jesse Schram and Adam Welch in accomplishing the feat in 2008.