STANFORD, Calif. – After playing to a draw against No. 22 Cal on Friday, the Lehigh men’s soccer team concluded the program’s first ever trip to the west coast with an impressive 1-0 victory over Stanford on Sunday in the CAL Legacy Classic. Senior Daniel Odenwelder had the game-winning goal in the 41st minute as he found the back of the net from five yards out on a touch-pass from senior Ayo Olasupo.
"We played with a lot of discipline and worked hard together which is really important," said head coach Dean Koski. "Anytime you go on the road its tough, but to play two teams like Cal and Stanford and get two results, that’s a pretty good weekend for us."
Lehigh (2-1-2) spent the second half protecting its lead as 12 of Stanford’s 20 shots came in the second half. Stanford had five players with at least two shots as Nugent came up big with four saves as he racked up his fourth-career shutout and his third this season.
Lehigh’s goal came off a corner kick as there was a scramble in the box and Olasupo got a touch on it and Odenwelder finished it off for his first goal of the season.
In a flurry of action late in the second half, Stanford had three-straight corner kicks. The first led to a shot that was saved by sophomore keeper Ciaran Nugent and the next two chances were headers – one that was blocked and one that went wide.
"On the road, teams are chasing the game and throw more numbers forward," said Koski. "We were certainly aware of that so we had to manage ourselves defensively and in the midfield."
Stanford (1-4-0) was coming off an upset victory over No. 15 Kentucky on Friday. Lehigh finished the weekend with four points which was tied with Cal, but Cal edged Lehigh 4-2 on total goals tiebreaker. Three Mountain Hawks were named to the All-Tournament team: Odenwelder, senior Kevin Strunk and Nugent.
"My hope is that they begin to build more confidence in themselves and in what they are capable of doing," said Koski. "We are moving in the right direction, but we don’t want this to define our season and it shouldn’t but it will help us moving forward."
As Lehigh moves forward, it will face teams of different skill levels and Koski knows how important it is for his team to continue to play at a high level no matter the opponent.
"If we don’t come home and maintain the level that we played in California and look to get even better than this trip wouldn’t have meaning," he said. "The team has to remember how this feels and know what they are capable of and have to continue with that."
Lehigh will look to keep its momentum going when it takes the field on Saturday, September 17th against St. Peters at the Ulrich Sports Complex at 7 p.m.