BETHLEHEM, Pa. – The Lehigh men’s soccer team played to a 0-0 draw in double overtime against Colgate Saturday at the Ulrich Sports Complex. The match was Lehigh’s fifth double overtime match of the season as the Mountain Hawks extended their streak to seven straight matches without a loss. It was also Lehigh’s fifth shutout in a row to total seven on the season.
“I was a little disappointed with the fact that just couldn’t find a way to score a goal,” said head coach Dean Koski. “We are getting great efforts defensively, but we just have to find a way to score.”
Lehigh (4-1-4, 1-0-1 PL) had six shots for the game, three coming off the foot of senior Kevin Strunk. Strunk’s best chance came with 15 minutes to go in the second half when his free kick outside of the 18-yard box was heading towards the top of the goal but Colgate (5-2-2, 0-1-1 PL) keeper Grant Reed made his lone save of the match knocking the ball over the crossbar. It was Lehigh’s only shot on goal of the match.
The Mountain Hawks had another opportunity late in the half when senior Neal Melchionni dropped a pass off for sophomore Ben Wysocki in the box but his shot went wide.
Lehigh did a good job of building into the final third of the field, but couldn’t finish off plays, something Koski knows his team needs to work on.
“We have to take care of the ball better when we get those chances,” he said. “We can’t be casual with our decisions in the final third, we have to sharpen up our possession. We wait for the perfect opportunity to take a shot and that doesn’t exist so we just have to do a better job with our chances.”
In the first half, both teams were quiet combining for seven shots as sophomore keeper Ciaran Nugent made two of this three saves in the opening half. Koski would like to see his team come out with a little more energy and focus in the first halves of matches, something he hasn’t seen recently.
“We have been slow out of the block the past four or five games,” said Koski. “We can’t keep teams around when we have a chance to put them away. We have to do a better job in the first 45 minutes of games.”
While the team couldn’t find the back of the net, Lehigh’s defense was again stellar. The Mountain Hawks have only allowed two goals in 917 minutes of action this season. Entering the match, Lehigh was ranked No. 2 in the nation in goals against average while Nugent was No. 2 in the nation in saves percentage.
Colgate was led by Jimmy McLaughlin who had four shots, two on goal.
Lehigh will look to continue to thwart opponent’s attacks while hoping to find the back of the net when it travels to take the pitch at rival-Lafayette next Saturday, October 8th at 7 p.m.
NOTES: The Lehigh Athletic Department honored the 1971 Middle Atlantic Conference men's soccer team at halftime of Saturday’s game. The ’71 squad posted an impressive 10-3-1 record with five shutouts, defeating Gettysburg, Delaware, Rider, Lafayette and Bucknell in the MAC West Division before beating Temple, 2-1, in the championship game.