Decker fires Lehigh past Furman, 1-0
CHARLESTON, S.C. – The Lehigh men’s soccer team came away victorious in the opening match of the College of Charleston Tournament on Friday by a score of 1-0 against Furman. Sophomore Austin Decker netted the lone goal of the match off a feed from junior Neal Melchionni as the Mountain Hawks improved to 3-2-1 on the season.
Lehigh wasted little time in going on the offensive as Decker put the Brown and White ahead before seven minutes had elapsed. Melchionni delivered a perfect cross from the left corner to Decker, who headed home the game-winner just inside the right post.
"Austin is still getting his legs back from being injured this summer," Lehigh head coach Dean Koski said. "He’s worked hard to get to this point and it’s important to get him going."
Despite long stretches of possession in the Lehigh half, the Paladins could not crack the Mountain Hawks’ defense as senior keeper Jonathan Nydell made two saves and pitched his third shutout of the year.
The match took on a chippy nature as it wound to a close as Lehigh committed 20 fouls to Furman’s 14. By the time the final whistle blew, the Paladins owned an 8-6 edge in shots, but Lehigh still held the advantage where it mattered most: on the scoreboard.
"I didn’t think we were great tonight," Koski admitted. "I attribute that to the 13-hour bus ride we made to get down here and the 85-degree temperatures we’re playing in. I’m happy that we still figured out a way to win."
The victory is Lehigh’s first away from home this season and the first-ever over Furman in program history. The Brown and White will look to continue their winning ways on Sunday when they face the College of Charleston at 1:30 p.m.