ANNAPOLIS, Md. – The Lehigh men’s soccer team battled to a scoreless draw against Navy on Saturday night at the Glenn Warner Soccer Facility. Senior keeper Jonathan Nydell made four saves to earn his league-leading fifth shutout of the year. After earning a shutout against Lafayette in the last game, Nydell and the Lehigh defense have not conceded a goal in over 256 consecutive minutes.
"I think we’ve been more consistent with what we are doing defensively," Lehigh head coach Dean Koski said. "There’s been better communication from Nydell to the backs. We still gave up 17 shots tonight, which is too many for my liking, but the defense is maturing and settling in."
The Mountain Hawks (4-4-2, 1-1-1 Patriot League) attempted 13 shots on the night, including four from freshman James Meyerkord, but were unable to break through the Patriot League’s top-ranked defense. Junior Joe Puleo, senior Matt Thaeder and sophomore Austin Decker each attempted two shots, while substitute David Jackson fired a game-high seven shots for Navy (6-2-2, 1-1-1 Patriot League).
The Mountain Hawks outshot Navy by a 10-4 margin in the first half, forcing Navy keeper Aaron Dupere into three saves. The momentum turned in the second half as Navy held a 9-1 shot advantage, but Nydell held the fort and received a bit of help from junior Kevin Strunk, who headed a shot out of harm’s way in the 83rd minute.
After each team attempted one shot in the first overtime, Navy went back on the offensive in the second period of extra time with three shots. Lehigh claimed the only shot on goal in the frame, however, as Strunk directed a header on target following a corner by junior Neal Melchionni in the 109th minute.
"I would say that it’s not a bad thing to get a point on the road in this league," Koski added. "Navy is a much-improved program and they are tough at home. Obviously, we would have liked to have gotten the three points, but to be able to come down here and shut them out is great. I thought Cameron Omsberg did a great job filling in for James Graf tonight. For his first game playing center back, he did a great job containing Navy’s attack and helping us get the shutout."
Lehigh returns to action on Tuesday when it plays host to No. 6 Maryland at 7 p.m. Fans who can't make it can watch the game live on Lehighsports.com with broadcasters Steve Lomangino and Jeff Tourial calling the action. Tickets to the match are only $5; students and faculty will be admitted free with a valid Lehigh ID.