Posted: November 1, 2009
WASHINGTON, D.C. – After clinching a Patriot League tournament berth on Saturday, Lehigh dropped its regular season finale 8-1 to American Sunday afternoon at Jacobs Field. Senior Morgan Christopher scored to put the Mountain Hawks in front early, but the Eagles responded with eight unanswered goals to clinch the Patriot League regular season championship. Lehigh finishes the regular season at 6-10, 2-3 in the Patriot League. The Mountain Hawks will face the Eagles in a Patriot League semifinal on Friday.
“I thought we played very well in the first 25 minutes,” said Lehigh head coach Julie Mazer. “Once we scored our goal American seemed to raise its game to another level. They were very aggressive offensively and very good in fast break situations. As the game we didn’t execute as well and weren’t doing what was working for us earlier.”
It took just over two minutes for the Mountain Hawks to go in front. A shot from junior Claire Horn was blocked and the rebound came to freshman Kelsey Zeswitz, who fed Christopher in front for her sixth goal of the season.
American tied the game at the 11:01 mark when Melissa Casale deflected a Rachel Carney shot for the first of her three goals on the day. Sixteen minutes later American took the lead on an unassisted goal by Christine Fingerhuth. At the end of the first half, Casale struck again for her second goal of the game to put the Eagles up 3-1 at halftime.
In the second half, the Eagles offense exploded for five goals in a 13 minute span at the start of the period to put the game away. Fingerhuth netted her second goal of the game, while Savannah Graybill, Anne-Meike DeWiljes and Anne Van Erp each scored for the Eagles, with Casale capping the scoring with her third goal of the day.
The Eagles finished the game with a 23-5 edge in shots and a 9-2 advantage in penalty corners. Junior Lilia Stefaniwsky made six saves in 42 minutes of action before giving way to Jess Miller, who was credited with one save.
The win clinched the Patriot League regular season title for American, which will host the fourth seeded Mountain Hawks in one semifinal. Bucknell and Lafayette will meet in the other semifinal.
“We will go back and look at the film this week,” said Mazer. “We’ll make adjustments and get ready to play them again. I think at times today we proved we could be competitive with them.”
Game times for Friday’s semifinals are still to be determined. The semifinal winners will meet in the championship game Saturday afternoon.