BETHLEHEM, Pa. – The Lehigh women’s soccer team bounced back from a slow start to score two first-half goals, while adding one more in the second, on its way to a convincing 3-0 win over Holy Cross at the Ulrich Sports Complex on Saturday. The victory improves Lehigh’s (8-3-2, 3-1-0 Patriot League) home record to 7-0-0, wrapping up the program’s first-ever unblemished regular season at home. No previous Mountain Hawks’ squad ever went unbeaten, never mind perfect.
Women's Soccer: Holy Cross Post-Match Extra, Oct. 16, 2010
"It feels good to be playing well," said head coach Eric Lambinus, when asked about the team’s effort at home. "What’s great about it is we got the three wins in conference, which is what we needed to do. When you’re offset and you only have three home games and four away, you need to make sure you get all your home games. It is a great feeling knowing that maybe if we do well the rest of the year, then we could get another game back here [in the Patriot League Tournament]."
The Mountain Hawks finish the regular season with four straight road games, three in conference play. They still have league games remaining at Navy, American and Lafayette.
Neither team could get much offense going early on, but Lehigh took advantage of a free kick to break the stalemate. Junior Genna Pepe’s free kick from 30 yards out was directed towards goal. The ball snuck in perfectly under the crossbar to give the Mountain Hawks a 1-0 advantage at 21:19.
"That goal seemed to energize us," said Lambinus. "It’s a dangerous ball and it goes in the back of the net. After that goal, we played with a lot more energy and confidence."
Later in the half, senior Glynn Fitzer set up Lehigh’s second goal via a nifty cross at 42:10. Stationed just outside the box, she made a pass through the box, which Dyrek redirected inside the right post for the highlight reel goal.
Lehigh turned up the pressure in the second half, taking 12 shots to only three for Holy Cross (3-8-2, 0-3-1 PL), but the Crusaders had a golden scoring chance in the 72nd minute. They actually found the back of the net, but the play was whistled offsides.
The Mountain Hawks continued with the pressure, highlighted by one three minute stretch late in the game in which Holy Cross goalkeeper Ashlyn Angell was forced to make three sensational saves. She stopped Fitzer, junior Jana Basubas and Dyrek in succession to keep the score at 3-0.
The shutout marks Lehigh’s second of the season and the first for senior goalkeeper Lauren Mains, who finished with three saves. The Mountain Hawks have now allowed only eight goals in their last 10 games, with one goal or fewer in all 10 contests.
"I’m proud of the defense," said Lambinus. "They didn’t give up many great chances."
Final shots were 16-8 in favor of Lehigh. The Mountain Hawks had five corners kicks to only one for the Crusaders. Angell made six saves across Mains’ three.
The Mountain Hawks close out the regular season with four straight road games beginning with a pair at Navy and American next weekend.
"[This four game swing] is a challenge," said Lambinus. "I haven’t seen a distinct difference in the way we’ve played on the road versus at home. Some of our better play - but not results - has been on the road, so I’m confident we can go down and do well. We’ll give it our best shot."