Posted: November 19, 2006
DURHAM, N.C. – Lehigh’s record-setting season came to an end on Sunday afternoon in the third round of the NCAA Tournament as the No. 1 seeded Duke Blue Devils knocked off the 16th seeded Mountain Hawks 3-0. The Blue Devils will now advance to the quarterfinal round of the tournament where they will face the winner of the Clemson-UCLA game next weekend. The Mountain Hawks’ third round game became the furthest Lehigh had ever advanced in the NCAA Tournament.
“Getting into the sweet sixteen was new territory for us,” said 15-year head coach Dean Koski. “We’ve had the luxury of being down here before, so we knew what to expect from Duke. I just hope the guys cherished this opportunity.”
The Mountain Hawk defense certainly had their hands full as the Duke offense wasted no time in testing the nationally-ranked defense. Throughout the first half, Lehigh came up with three team saves, including two right off the goal line as freshman Adam Welch and sophomore Jim Taranto each made a stop.
The Blue Devils jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the first half with goals from Michael Videira and Spencer Wadsowrth. Darius Barnes launched a throw in from 20 yards out that found the head of Videira, who sent the ball to the near post in the 20th minute. Seven minutes later, the Blue Devils got their second goal as Wadsworth passed the ball to Mike Grella, who the slipped the ball back to Wadsworth. Wadsworth then took a shot that senior Jim Morahan got a punch on, but the ball tickled past Morahan and into the net.
Lehigh had several close chances in the first half as freshman Kyle Evans and senior Joe Verdi both nearly found the back of the net. In the first five minutes, Taranto pass a through-ball to Evans, who’s shot was kicked saved by Justin Papadakis. Meanwhile, Verdi attempted a rocket shot from a near impossible angle that ricocheted off the post in the 35th minute.
The Duke offense continued its pressure in the second half as the Blue Devils had several shots that were denied by Morahan. However, Duke scored their third goal of the game in the 71st minute when Tomek Charowski passed the ball to Grella. Grella dribbled down the far side and took a shot that went to the found its way to the near post.
Senior Jim Morahan made four saves for Lehigh, while Papadakis made two stops to record the shutout.
The Mountain Hawks conclude the 2006 season with a 15-2-3 overall record. This season, Lehigh set six team records and had one individual mark set and another individual mark tied. Lehigh became the first Patriot League team to go a perfect 7-0 in league play.