BETHLEHEM, Pa. – The Lehigh men’s soccer team wrapped up their four-match homestand with a scoreless draw against La Salle on Friday night. The Mountain Hawks attempted 15 shots, but were able to muster only two on net, while La Salle generated 17 shots and placed nine on goal. With the draw, Lehigh’s record now stands at 2-1-1 on the season.
"I was pleased with our defensive effort," Lehigh head coach Dean Koski said. "Any time you play 110 minutes of shutout soccer is good, but we did a poor job of finding opportunities on goal. We didn’t really test their keeper at all."
Lehigh keeper Jonathan Nydell was tested on several occasions, but was up to the task from the outset. La Salle’s Ryan Richter produced the game’s first chance in the seventh minute with a blistering shot from outside the box, but Nydell dove to his left to punch the ball out of danger.
Both teams attempted seven shots in the opening half, but La Salle produced all four shots on goal. The Explorers also held a 3-0 advantage in corner kicks in the first stanza.
"Our goal was to come out in the first fifteen to twenty minutes and not have that lull," Koski explained. "We didn’t execute our gameplan as well as I would have liked. We didn’t connect passes and we passed up plenty of chances to play the ball wide."
Lehigh nearly pulled ahead early in the second when freshman Ben Wysocki’s shot was deflected by a La Salle defender just wide of the right post. Junior Dan Odenwelder added another glorious chance when he flicked a header just over the bar following a long throw by junior Jordie Ciuffetelli with 20 minutes remaining in regulation.
Nydell came up big once again when he stopped Rob McIntyre’s swerving shot with 17 minutes left, and then did well to stop a Richter free kick just two minutes later. La Salle nearly broke through with seven minutes to play in the second half when Dan Korenyi’s header glanced off the crossbar and caromed over the net.
Lehigh generated the first chance in overtime when sophomore Cameron Omsberg directed a header on net in the 96th minute, but the ball flew right into the waiting hands of La Salle keeper John McCarthy.
Nydell responded with a sprawling stop on Glenroy Chapman in the waning seconds of the first overtime.
La Salle had one final chance to win the game in the second overtime period when Ryan Sepe stepped into a loose ball to the left of the Lehigh net. With Nydell out of position, Lehigh defender Matt Weaver slid in to block the shot and preserve the tie.
Nydell finished the match with a season-high 10 saves to lower his goals against average to 0.71 on the season.
"We have to put a good defensive effort together with a good attacking effort," Koski said. "Even if that means winning one to nothing, that’s fine with me."
The Mountain Hawks will hit the road for the first time on Sunday against Towson at 1 p.m. The match is the first in a string of four straight road contests, during which Lehigh will also travel to Charleston, S.C. for a pair of matches and Hamilton, N.Y. to open league play against Colgate.