Posted: September 18, 2009
BETHLEHEM, Pa. – The Lehigh men’s soccer team earned a hard-fought 3-2 win over the College of Charleston Friday night at the Ulrich Sports Complex. The Cougars came into the match ranked 24th in the nation by College Soccer News and the loss was their first of the season. Freshman Austin Decker scored the game winning goal in the 56th minute to give Lehigh the win and raise its record to 3-2-1 on the season.
“I thought College of Charleston was a very mature team,” head coach Dean Koski said. “They’re very confident and they were a tough team to compete against.”
Lehigh got on the board first when sophomore Joe Puleo took a pass from senior defender Adam Welch in the 21st minute and slipped a shot past the keeper into the right corner of the net.
College of Charleston wouldn’t stay off the scoreboard for long as freshman Frannie Twohig put in his second goal of the season from 25 yards out.
Junior Zachary Gould gave the Mountain Hawks the lead right back in the 40th minute when he took a pass from sophomore Jordie Ciuffetelli and put the ball past the keeper.
The Mountain Hawks came out strong in the second half and got the game winning goal when Decker took a perfect cross from sophomore Neal Melchionni. Decker now has three goals on the season and has scored in two consecutive games.
“Decker works really hard,” Koski said. “He chases down balls and puts himself in spots to score.”
The Cougars were able to close the gap to 3-2 when freshman Ralph Lundy III put a dead ball into the box and senior Matt Morris deposited it for his second goal of the year.
College of Charleston would not give up as it put the pressure on Lehigh in the final third of the game.
“They are very good with dead balls,” Koski said. “They have great size and they’re very tenacious. We lacked some discipline and we certainly got tested at the end of the game.”
Lehigh’s backline got a boost as junior captain James Graf saw his first action of the season.
“Graf brings tremendous experience and leadership to our defense,” Koski said. “He is not 100 percent yet, but he competed well.”
The teams were dead even in shots (11) and Lehigh keeper Jonathan Nydell made five saves in the win, including a diving stab in the final minutes of play.
The Mountain Hawks will hit the road on Wednesday when they travel in-state to take on the Nittany Lions of Penn State at 7 p.m.
Lehigh - College of Charleston Post-Game Extra