BETHLEHEM, Pa. – Freshman Paige Dyrek broke a 1-1 tie midway through the second half and the Mountain Hawk defense took over from that point forward as the Lehigh women’s soccer team won its third straight game, defeating La Salle, 3-1, on Friday evening at the Ulrich Sports Complex. Freshman Murphee Greeley enjoyed a standout game with a career-high three points and nine shots to help the Mountain Hawks improve to 4-1-1 on the season.
Greeley’s nine shots were also the most by any Lehigh player this season, shattering the previous high of five set on numerous occasions. The three goals marked the most the Mountain Hawks have ever scored in a win over La Salle. They netted three only one other time in the all-time series, a 6-3 loss in the first-ever meeting between the schools in 1992.
"We've been playing really well in the second half,” said head coach Eric Lambinus. “[Today] was one of our better halves of the season. We went out and did exactly what we talked about at halftime. We were more aggressive, which made [La Salle] more one-dimensional."
After a defensive first 20 minutes, Greeley opened the scoring with her third goal in as many games to give Lehigh a 1-0 lead at 21:46. After corralling the ball at the top of the box, she unleashed a rocket which found the top left corner of the goal. Along with her three-game goal streak, she is also carrying a five-game point streak spanning the entire month of September.
La Salle answered back less than six minutes later when Morgan Golden scored her first of the season at 27:51. She took a feed from Renee Washington then unleashed a shot into the lower right corner of the goal with Lehigh goalkeeper Lauren Mains coming out strong to try and cut down the angle.
The Explorers would have taken a 2-1 lead at 37:13, but Mains made a stellar leaping save of an Anna Dolhansky shot to keep the score tied.
The Mountain Hawks controlled play in the second half and made it count when Dyrek netted her first-career goal. After the ball squirted to her at the top of the box, she made a move around an aggressive La Salle goalkeeper and found the far post at 71:48.
The Lehigh defense bore down from that point forward, only allowing one bad-angle shot in the final 15 minutes. The offense iced the win at 89:37 behind a succession of highlight-reel passes. Senior Liz Carlos got it started at midfield when she fed Greeley for a two-on-one. Greeley dribbled down the right flank and into the box where she set up Ali MacLeod on the left side. The junior did the rest, easily finding the wide-open net for her first goal of the season.
"We finished the game really well,” said Lambinus, who was pleased with the defensive effort. “We didn't give up any good chances the last 15-20 minutes."
The Mountain Hawks led the final shot count, 16-10, including 11 on goal to tie a season-high. Mains finished with six saves while La Salle goalkeeper Gabby Pakhtigian made eight. Final fouls were 15-13, while Lehigh had the only three corner kicks of the game.
After a day off, the Mountain Hawks are back in action on Sunday when they travel to regionally-ranked Columbia to face the Lions. Kickoff is set for 1 p.m. with live stats available on Lehighsports.com.