BRONX, N.Y. – The Lehigh men’s soccer team suffered its first loss of the 2011 season falling to Fordham 1-0 on Wednesday night at Jack Coffey Field. The game was scoreless until the 77th minute when the Mountain Hawks (0-1-1) gave up the game-winner. Lehigh took eight shots on the night, but couldn’t find the back of the net for the second consecutive game.
"I thought we played better than we did last game against Stony Brook in terms of trying to possess the ball and be more thoughtful when we had the ball," said Lehigh head coach Dean Koski. "They are a very good team and did a good job of disrupting us in the first half."
Lehigh managed just one shot in the first half, but the Mountain Hawks started to put more things together in their attack in the second half. Junior Cameron Omsberg had two opportunities to score when he put a header wide in the 51st minute and then 50 seconds later took a shot that was blocked.
The lone goal of the game came off the foot of Michael Stalker, his first-career goal. Two minutes after Jack Bouchard took a shot on goal, Stalker took the ball from the top of the box and made a couple of nice moves. With a mix-up in the back for the Mountain Hawks, Stalker was able to finish off the play to put Fordham (1-0) up for good.
"The difference in the game is they took advantage of a mistake that we made defensively," said Koski. "They found the back of the net and we didn’t take advantage of breakdowns that they had. It’s all going to boil down to mental mistakes over the course of 90 minutes."
Despite falling behind, Lehigh had several opportunities for the equalizer. Senior Neal Melchionni’s shot went wide of the frame in the 79th minute. Then senior Kevin Strunk put a shot that went wide in the 83rd minute followed by freshman Brian Suchoski’s shot that also went wide in the 87th minute. Senior Joe Puleo got one on frame in the 88th minute, but it was saved by the keeper.
"Even when we were down a goal, I thought our guys raised the level play," said Koski. "We had some good chances to score in the second half but we didn’t capitalize. I am positive about the direction we are moving so this is a good game for us to have."
Lehigh will look to turn things around when they take the pitch against Yale on Sunday at 1 p.m. at the Ulrich Sports Complex.