Posted: October 13, 2009
BETHLEHEM, Pa. – The Lehigh men’s soccer team was able to end non-league play on a good note as it defeated NJIT 2-1 on Tuesday night at the Ulrich Sports Complex. After NJIT took an early 1-0 lead, the Mountain Hawks were able to get the next two goals and bring home the victory. Junior captain James Graf notched the game-winning goal which was the first of his career. With the win Lehigh snaps a three-game losing streak and improves its record to 6-5-2 on the season.
“A win is a win and it was good for us to get a result tonight,” head coach Dean Koski said.
NJIT opened up the scoring early when freshman Franco Gamero took a pass from classmate Jack McVey and beat Lehigh goal keeper Jonathan Nydell on the first shot of the game. The goal which came in the 7th minute was the first of his career.
“The first goal woke us up a little bit,” Koski said. “Our whole focus was to be better defensively and when you give up a goal early it is frustrating. The back five and our goalie need to do a better job of staying organized and communicating.”
The Mountain Hawks answered right back as senior Jesse Schram scored his second goal of the season in the 15th minute. Sophomore Jordie Ciuffetelli threw-in a perfect pass and Schram beat the NJIT keeper up high.
Despite being tied 1-1 at the half head coach Dean Koski still wanted to see a better effort.
“I think I was pretty hard on them during halftime,” Koski said. “I challenged them to compete better and want it more.”
Koski’s halftime speech seemed to have a strong effect on his team as they came out and dominated the second half. Lehigh outshot the Highlanders 16-3 in the half and 24-7 for the game.
The Mountain Hawks got the game-winner in the 57th minute when Graf headed in another ball that was thrown-in by Ciuffetelli. Lehigh was able to capitalize on the strong arm of Ciuffetelli twice in the victory and he created several other quality scoring chances.
An unfamiliar face lined up at forward tonight for Lehigh as Adam Welch moved up from the backline.
“He is our leading scorer and we want to get him closer to the goal,” Koski said. “We felt this was a good game to experiment and he is probably our best defender so we have to use him the way the team needs him.”
Lehigh must work hard over the next few days to get ready for another big Patriot League match on Saturday.
“Holy Cross is a tough place to play,” Koski said. “We have to get in three good training sessions and work on getting back our focus.
The Mountain Hawks will hit the road on Saturday for a match with the Crusaders at 7 p.m.