BETHLEHEM, Pa. – After being held off the scoreboard in its last two games, Lehigh’s offense erupted for three first-half goals and the Mountain Hawks held off a second-half Siena rally for a 3-2 win over the Saints Tuesday night at Ulrich Field. Freshman Kim Eng scored twice and sophomore Madison Ingal added her first goal of the season as Lehigh (3-5) picked up a win in its final tune-up before Patriot League play begins this weekend.
“We talked about being relentless out there,” said Lehigh head coach Julie Mazer. “We had to keep playing hard and working as a unit the entire time both offensively and defensively. I’m pleased with the result, but as we move towards league play we still have to do a better job playing together for the full 70 minutes.”
It took Lehigh just under three minutes to break its two-game goal drought as Eng opened the scoring with a low drive off a penalty corner at the 2:47 mark. Senior Lindsey Smith and junior Claire Horn added assists on the play.
The Mountain Hawks extended their lead at the 18:31 when Ingal found herself wide open just inside the scoring circle and blasted a shot past Renee Clavette to give Lehigh a 2-0 advantage.
Late in the first half Eng made it 3-0 in favor of the Mountain Hawks when she corralled a long outlet pass, broke towards the cage on a 2-on-1, faked left around Clavette, and deposited the ball into the cage for her team-leading seventh goal of the season.
“We were able to create second and third opportunities tonight,” explained Mazer. “Something we were not able to do over the last few games. We made quicker better decisions when moving the ball out of the back and it led to a lot of quality opportunities up the field. We had great support from our backs and our midfielders moving forward as a unit offensively.”
Siena (2-7) made a run of its own in the second half, cutting Lehigh’s lead to 3-1 on a Mackenzie Smith unassisted goal just two minutes into the half. The Saints pulled within a goal at 3-2 at the 58:46 mark on a goal by Kristin McGorty, but from there the Mountain Hawks reasserted themselves on the defensive end.
Lehigh had a late chance to add an insurance goal, when Clavette upended senior Morgan Christopher on a breakaway, but the Saints keeper knocked aside Eng’s penalty stroke, one of her 17 saves on the night, to keep it a one-goal game.
Eng finished with a game-high 13 shots including nine on goal as Lehigh out-shot Siena 29-14, but the Saints held an 11-9 edge in penalty corners. Junior Lilia Stefaniwsky made ten saves in the cage for Lehigh to earn her second win of the season.
The Mountain Hawks will open up Patriot League play on Saturday when they return to action against Colgate. Game time is set for 11 a.m. at Ulrich Field and all the action can be seen on Lehighsports.com.