Lehigh stuns Nebraska for season-opening win
Posted: August 28, 2009
VILLANOVA, Pa. – Senior co-captain Natalie Hojnacki tallied a goal and an assist as Lehigh opened its 2009 season with an impressive 3-1 victory over Nebraska in the opening game of the Villanova Classic Friday at the Villanova Soccer Stadium. After totaling just 11 goals in 17 games last year, Hojnacki, senior Liz Carlos and sophomore Genna Pepe all scored to give the Mountain Hawks their first-ever victory versus a Big XII team in women’s soccer. Nebraska falls to 1-1 with the loss.
“We competed really well as a group,” explained Lehigh head coach Manny Oudin. “We did a nice job organizing defensively. We worked hard. I’m really pleased with the effort and it’s certainly a good result to start the season.”
Hojnacki put the Mountain Hawks in front just over ten minutes into the contest when she scored her sixth career goal off a feed from sophomore Jana Basubas. The score remained 1-0 in Lehigh’s favor after 45 minutes, despite the Cornhuskers out-shooting the Mountain Hawks by a 9-3 margin.
“We came out and played well early,” said Oudin. “We had some early opportunities. Our first goal was well designed. It was certainly nice to get one early.”
Lehigh extended its lead in the 55th minute when Carlos headed home a rebound for her sixth career tally. Nebraska cut the Mountain Hawks’ lead in half 12 minutes later as Colleen Goetzmann scored her first goal of the season with an assist from Molly Thomas; but Lehigh added some insurance in the 87th minute when Hojnacki found Pepe open in the middle of the 18-yard box. Pepe fired a shot past Huskers keeper Julie Berkshire for her first career goal to account for the final tally.
Nebraska held a 19-12 advantage in shots and a 7-1 edge in corner kicks. Junior Lauren Mains did a fine job in goal for Lehigh, making ten saves, while Jessica Milles made three saves for Nebraska before giving way to Berkshire.
“I thought our back four did a great job,” said Oudin. “They stayed organized and kept the play in front of them. Lauren Mains also came up with a big effort. She made some big saves when we needed them.”
The Mountain Hawks will wrap-up play at the Villanova Classic when they meet Virginia Tech on Sunday. Kickoff is set for 10 a.m. from the Villanova Soccer Stadium.