BETHLEHEM, Pa. - Despite tying the score in the 77th minute, the Lehigh women’s soccer team allowed a quick goal only 32 seconds later as Monmouth handed the Mountain Hawks (1-1-1) a tough 2-1 loss on Friday, snapping their 10-game home winning streak. Junior Isabelle Li scored her second goal of the season to tie the score at one, but it was short lived. Lehigh will look to bounce back on Sunday when it heads to Marist to face the Red Foxes.
“I thought our effort was there, but we didn’t execute the way we know how,” said Lehigh head coach Eric Lambinus. “We didn’t do some of the simple things. We can definitely do better.”
The loss snaps Lehigh’s 10-game home winning streak dating back two years. The Mountain Hawks’ last home defeat came on Oct. 23, 2009 against Navy.
An extremely wet field led to all three of the game’s goals as both goalkeepers struggled to handle the ball cleanly. The conditions were apparent from the get-go as only 9:39 in, freshman goalkeeper Ashley Blanks got a piece of a shot attempt, but it deflected to Dana Costello, who buried the first of her two goals on the evening.
“The conditions affected both goalies. Their goal was mishandled,” said Lambinus. “We saw it all week [in practice]; we have to anticipate that. Ashley’s not going to catch every ball; no goalie is going to. Nobody should be getting near our keeper and two times in a row, they did. We can definitely learn from it.”
Lehigh picked up its play and began earning quality chances, especially in the second half. But the Mountain Hawks struggled to finish as Monmouth goalkeeper Ashley Lewis stood tall for the Hawks.
The Mountain Hawks were able to convert at 76:22 when Lewis came out to play a service towards goal from freshman Jordan Goodwin. Lewis had touble getting hold of the ball, letting Li unleash a low shot which found its way over the goal line. Goodwin earned the assist on the play for her first-career point.
As quickly as Lehigh tied it up, Monmouth retook the lead only 32 seconds later. The Hawks sent a similar pass towards goal and Blanks struggled to secure it. The ball popped loose to Costello, who made a tip that slowly rolled inside the left post at 76:54.
“We always talk about the next minute right after a goal,” said Lambinus. “We go over it in training and we work on it. Sometimes, I think we do well and anticipate our teammates will always be successful, and we don’t cover for them as much. We have to cover for our teammates, make sure that even if mistakes happen, we have their backs. Nobody is going to play a perfect game.”
Lehigh had some chances down the stretch, but were unable to net the tying goal as the Hawks held on for the victory.
“We want to win every game, but winning the Patriot League games is most important,” said Lambinus. “We’re going to lose some. A lot of people say if you just win, you don’t learn much from it. Hopefully we can take something out of this loss, recover on Saturday and play a much better game on Sunday.”
An evenly played game saw the final shots tied at 10. Lehigh had five corner kicks to Monmouth’s two. Blanks and Lewis each finished with five saves on the evening.
Lehigh returns to action on Sunday when it travels to Marist to face the Red Foxes. That kicks off a five-game road swing before returning home on Oct. 1 to host Lafayette in its Patriot League opener.