BETHLEHEM, Pa. - Riding the momentum of its overtime thriller over Bucknell, the Lehigh women’s soccer team pulled out its second victory of the weekend on Sunday, handing Colgate its first Patriot League loss, 1-0. Sophomore Darby Dustman scored the game’s only goal in the second half while freshman Ani Nahapetian spearheaded a Lehigh defense which became only the second team to shut-out the Raiders this season (along with Washington). The Mountain Hawks will enter their regular season finale Saturday alive for the fourth and final Patriot League Tournament berth.
“We were really disciplined defensively,” said Lehigh head coach Eric Lambinus. “If [Colgate] was going to score, we’d make them earn it. Let’s not give anything away. Let’s be disciplined and aggressive when we get an opportunity. We made a couple adjustments at halftime to be a little more attack-minded, and we absolutely did that perfectly.”
Lehigh posted the game’s first two shots, but Colgate responded with seven in a row. Nahapetian made two saves in the opening half while the Mountain Hawks’ defense stood tall in front of her.
Freshman Paige Elliott, who was tremendous at both ends of the field, created one of Lehigh’s first dangerous offensive chances. Midway through the first, she made a steal and carried the ball up field, finding junior Paige Dyrek in the corner who unleashed a dangerous cross.
Colgate had a shot less than a minute into the second half, but the Mountain Hawks responded just 32 seconds later to break the ice. Dyrek put one towards goal from near the top of the box, finding Dustman behind the defense. The sophomore native did the rest, putting it home to make it 1-0 at 46:06.
“We got Paige the ball in a good spot, which is what we wanted to do,” said Lambinus. “We want to find her in good spaces. Darby got all the way in on the back post. She missed one on Friday night against. Bucknell, but she learned from it, got in and made sure she got her foot on it.”
Lehigh’s defense continued to stand tall in containing a potent Raiders’ offense which came in averaging three goals per league contest as Nahapetian made three second-half saves to wrap up her first-career shutout. It marked the first time Colgate had been shut out since Aug. 24 against Washington. It was also Lehigh’s first shutout over Colgate since Oct. 23, 2004.
Colgate held the final edge in shots (15-8) and corner kicks (3-2). Nahapetian finished with five saves across Ashley Walsh, who made one.
“Our back four were tremendous,” said Lambinus. “They were under a lot of pressure; they held Colgate off the first 10 minutes. They held it and allowed our midfielders and forwards to get into the game. Our back four and Ani played their best games of the year.”
The Mountain Hawks now look ahead to their regular season finale on Saturday as they host Holy Cross at 2 p.m. It will be Senior Day as Lehigh’s four seniors will be honored prior to their final regular season home games. Lehigh remains alive for the fourth and final Patriot League Tournament berth, vying for its second league tournament appearance the last three years.
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