WORCESTER, Mass. – The Lehigh men’s soccer team (7-2-5, 3-1-1 PL) scored a season-high four goals en route to a 4-1 win at Holy Cross (1-11-2, 0-4-0 PL) on Saturday. Kevin Strunk scored his third goal of the season as he found the back of the net in the 37th minute. Brian Suchoski had the game-winning goal as he scored in the 42nd minute while Neal Melchionni scored twice in the second half to put the match away as Lehigh now has eight goals in three games.
"The guys did a good job of creating opportunities and finishing them," said head coach Dean Koski. "We kept focus and found two very important goals in the second half."
Strunk started off the scoring barrage with a great restart ball that he buried for his third goal of the season. Five minutes later, Kyle Lucas created space on the flank and found Suchoski who finished it for his first-career game-winning goal and second goal of the season and second in two games. It was Lucas’ first point of the season.
While it looked as if Lehigh was set to cruise through the rest of the match, Holy Cross responded two minutes later as Pat McCann scored off a free kick.
"We struggled to clear a ball and the aftermath is we ended up fouling and that foul resulted in a dead ball situation in a dangerous spot," said Koski. "It was a good goal by them but we put ourselves in that position."
Now a 2-1 match, there was no room for error as the second half got underway. But Melchionni quickly relieved any pressure three minutes into the second half as Daniel Odenwelder laid a great ball off for Melchionni who had a terrific finish for his second goal of the season.
"That was the turning point of the game," said Koski. "That iced the game a little bit and certainly deflated Holy Cross."
The Mountain Hawks kept the Crusaders off the board for the rest of the match while Lehigh added another goal in the 83rd minute as Odenwelder found Melchionni for the second time.
Melchionni also scored twice last season against Holy Cross in a 2-0 victory and he tallied a goal in 2009 against the Crusaders.
Lehigh’s four goals are the most it has scored in a game since the Mountain Hawks scored four against Army on October 30th, 2009.
The Mountain Hawk’s four goals against Holy Cross came on just 12 shots while Lehigh’s nationally ranked defense held Holy Cross to just six shots, two in the second half. The Mountain Hawks entered the week ranked No. 2 in the nation in goals against average (0.30), No. 2 in saves percentage (0.927) and No. 4 in shutout percentage (0.67).
With Lehigh now firing on all cylinders on offense as well as shutting down opponents on defense, the Mountain Hawks will look to keep their momentum going when it travels to take on a first-place American team on Saturday, October 29th at 1 p.m. Lehigh defeated American in the regular season 2-1 in 2010 but will be looking to avenge a 2-0 loss in last year's Patriot League Semifinals.