Posted: October 28, 2006
BETHLEHEM, Pa. – No. 13 Lehigh became the first team in the Patriot League to go undefeated without a tie as the Mountain Hawks defeated archrival Lafayette 2-1 in overtime on senior night at the Ulrich Sports Complex. Sophomore Jim Taranto scored the game-winner just 1:33 into the extra period for his eighth goal of the season. With the victory, Lehigh improves to 15-1-1 overall and 7-0 in league while Leopards fall 10-4-1 overall 4-2-1 in league action.
“It is a nice way to finish the regular season with a win over Lafayette,” said head coach Dean Koski. “I am real happy for these guys. It was an important result to get and it just catapults us into the playoffs.”
Continues Koski, “It is a nice accomplishment for the team to go undefeated in league play. I have never gone into a season with expectations, but rather I have tried to have strong intentions and for the team to have strong intentions. This season, these guys exceeded any goals we had in mind.”
Lehigh carried a 1-0 lead into halftime when junior Joe Clemente found the back of the net for his third goal of the season. Clemente got the ball off pinpoint passes from freshman Jesse Schram and Taranto and proceeded to draw Lafayette’s Scott Backus out of the goal. The South Brunswick, N.J. native then shot towards the lower right corner.
Lafayette would finally get on the board in the 73rd minute when Luke Sullivan’s header got past senior Jim Morahan. Sullivan’s goal ended the Mountain Hawks’ shutout streak that lasted an incredible 740:37 and dated back over a month, to September 23.
In the 78th minute, Scott Hawkins had an open look on goal at the top of the six-yard box for Lafayette, but his shot sailed wide, and the teams played on. After finishing the 90-minute regulation period tied at one, the Mountain Hawks and the Leopards headed into overtime. Consistent with the physicality of the first two halves, the third started out the same as Taranto was knocked to the ground and drew a foul. Taranto came out with the ball after the restart and shot from the top of the 18-yard box to score the game-winning goal.
“It’s great to finish the season 7-0 in the Patriot League and to win on senior night,” said Taranto. “Tonight was the seniors last home regular season game and we were all just playing more for them.”
Morahan, who finishes the regular season with a miniscule goals against average of 0.29, recorded one save in the game as his counterpart Backus recorded six stops. Lehigh outshot the Leopards 15-10 and held a 5-2 advantage in corner kicks.
The Mountain Hawks return to action on Friday night when they host the Patriot League Tournament. Lehigh will face Bucknell in the first round. Game time is set for 7:30 pm, which will follow the Lafayette-Colgate match set for 4:00 pm. Live video and audio of the game will be broadcast online at lehighsports.com with streaming provided by Yahoo! Sports.