BETHLEHEM, Pa. - Playing its second game in as many days, the Lehigh field hockey team battled against defending NEC Champion Rider, but the Broncs proved too strong as they downed the Mountain Hawks, 6-1, on Sunday. Sophomore Sierra Segear made a career-high 22 saves while freshman Steph Fratoni made a career-best four defensive saves to keep Lehigh within reach. Sunday marked the first of five straight home games for the Mountain Hawks.
“I was happy that we kept fighting, which paid off with the late goal” said Lehigh head coach Stacey Blue. “Rider is a great team, very similar to American.”
Entering with an 8-1 record, the Broncs impressed from the get-go, netting their first goal at 7:15 off a penalty corner. Sandra Penas then scored her second of the game just 3:07 later to make it 2-0.
The Mountain Hawks continued to battle, keeping the potent Rider attack off the scoreboard for the next 22:59 as Segear stood tall with 13 first-half stops while Fratoni made her first two defensive saves in the first 35 minutes. However, Virginia Egusquiza scored the first of three straight with just 1:39 remaining in the half to make it 3-0 at the half.
Lehigh continued to hang tough in the second, fending off a number of Rider chances. The Broncs scored two quick goals to make it 5-0, then the Mountain Hawks rebounded to play even the rest of the way. Egusquiza scored her third goal, and the team’s sixth, at 62:57, but Lehigh capitalized on its first penalty corner of the game as junior Kim Eng fired a shot from the top of the circle which beat Rider goalkeeper Rebecca Lotito to make it 6-1 at the 68:59 mark.
Final shots were 45-1 in favor of Rider while penalty corners were 23-1. Segear finished with 22 saves along with Lehigh’s six defensive stops - four from Fratoni and two from sophomore Marie Mignogna.
“This weekend was great preparation for the rest of our schedule,” said Blue. “[American and Rider] are two of the best teams we’ll face. We need to learn from this weekend and continue to work hard and improve.”
The Mountain Hawks return to action next weekend when they host Colgate on Saturday at 1 p.m. and Cornell on Sunday at 3 p.m.