Monmouth downs Lehigh, 4-1, behind second-half surge
WEST LONG BRANCH, N.J. - Junior Kim Eng tied the score late in the first half, but a strong Monmouth squad exploded for three second-half goals in a 16:41 span to down the Lehigh field hockey team, 4-1, on Friday. Sophomore Sierra Segear was stellar in her first collegiate appearance, making 16 saves to keep the Mountain Hawks (0-3) within striking distance. Lehigh returns home Sunday to host La Salle at 1 p.m.
"Sierra played great and really helped us defensively," said Lehigh head coach Stacey Blue. "Kim's goal was generated by excellent passing. We just need to capitalize on our opportunities."
Coming off a 15-5 season, Monmouth showed why it was picked second in the preseason NEC poll. The Hawks jumped out to a quick 1-0 lead 1:07 when Michelle Pieczynski made a move into the circle and beat Segear five-hole for the first of her three goals in the game.
A relentless Lehigh squad continued to battle, keeping Monmouth off the scoreboard for the next 48:01 while tying the score at one. Following two straight penalty corners, the Mountain Hawks converted on their first and only shot on goal. Eng finished the play, finding the inside of the post to knot the score at one at the 23:38 mark. Senior Abby Tilton was credited with the assist.
Neither team could find the back of the cage until Pieczynski scored her second at 49:18 to make it 2-1, Monmouth. The Hawks went on to add two insurance goals, at 53:54 and 65:59, for the 4-1 final. The final tally came from Pieczynski to cap off her hat trick.
Monmouth led the final shot count, 23-2. Segear finished with 16 saves in her first-career collegiate action, across Teresa Mathews, who didn’t make any. Penalty corners stood 11-2 in favor of Monmouth.
Lehigh returns home on Sunday to host in-state rival La Salle at 1 p.m. The Mountain Hawks will then return to action next Wednesday at Quinnipiac in a game postponed due to Hurricane Irene.