Posted: November 6, 2009
LEWISBURG, Pa. – The Lehigh men’s soccer team is heading to the Patriot League Tournament as it defeated first-place Bucknell 2-1 in overtime on Friday night. Senior Adam Welch netted the game-winner in the 101st minute to clinch one of the four spots in the post season. The win brings the Mountain Hawks’ record to 9-5-3 overall and 4-2-1 in the Patriot League.
“It’s a big win to get us into the playoffs,” head coach Dean Koski said. “We came in with a good game plan and the guys did a good job of executing and not making many mistakes.”
Lehigh was able to get on the board first as junior co-captain James Graf headed in a perfect pass from senior Adam Gazda in the 51st minute.
“It was good to get the first goal being on the road,” Koski said. “It did however change how Bucknell was playing which wasn’t the best thing for us. The game opened up and they were able to get the equalizer off a corner kick.”
Bucknell tied the game in the 80th minute as freshman Brendan Bergdorf notched his seventh goal of the season as he headed it past Lehigh junior keeper Jonathan Nydell.
At the end of regulation Lehigh held the shot advantage 13-11 and the Bison were held in the game by a strong effort from their sophomore goalkeeper Tommy Caso as he made six saves.
After playing a scoreless first overtime, the Mountain Hawks wasted no time as Welch received a pass from Gazda and he headed it past Caso to end the game.
Lehigh finished the game with 15 shots and Nydell made two saves in the victory.
For the second straight game the Lehigh seniors stepped up when needed and they’re one step closer to achieving their goal of winning a Patriot League Championship.
“This game was really important for them,” Koski said. “They worked really hard over the last month and a half to make the team better. I couldn’t be happier for them; this is what you want in a game like this, to have your seniors to step up.”
The Mountain Hawks, who are unbeaten in their last five games (4-0-1), will now have to play the waiting game to figure out who their first opponent will be in the Patriot League Tournament. Koski knows no matter who they play it is going to be a battle. “The tournament is either going to be hosted by American or Bucknell and it doesn’t matter which team we play because they’re going to be good. We want to make sure we get back healthy, and put in a good week of work. With 4 o’clock exams ending it should allow us to prepare better and continue to do what we’ve been doing.”
Lehigh will have to wait until Saturday night to find out who it will be facing in the opening round of the Patriot League Tournament which begins next Friday.