Posted: September 10, 2006
BETHLEHEM, Pa. – A penalty kick in the first half proved to be the deciding play for the Mountain Hawks in their Sunday afternoon game against the University of Richmond. Lehigh defeated the Spiders 1-0 on South Game Field in the second game of the Lafayette Puma Soccer Classic. The victory marked a perfect 2-0 weekend for the Mountain Hawks and also extended Lehigh’s home shutout streak to 360 minutes. Lehigh improves to 4-1 on the season while Richmond drops to 1-4-1.
In the 39th minute of the game, Richmond fouled sophomore Jim Taranto in the box, creating a penalty kick for Lehigh. Senior John O’Reilly took the kick for the Mountain Hawks, aiming for the lower left corner. Spider goalkeeper Matt Cully came up with the initial stop, but the ball deflected right back to O’Reilly’s feet. This time, O’Reilly shot the ball into the lower right corner.
“It was an important result for us,” said head coach Dean Koski. “Our goal this weekend was to win both games that were against two really good teams. With Richmond being in our region now, this game really helps us with rankings.”
The game looked as if like it could go either way with both teams putting up tough offensive and defensive battles. Richmond looked to tie the game in the first half on a last second diving header by David Koepfer. However, Koepfer’s header went off the post.
Lehigh held a strong defense against a quick Richmond offense. Senior Joe Verdi drew one of the tougher markings, having to defend Delano Pierre who appeared to be everywhere on the field.
“Our back four did a good job,” said Koski. “Joe was one of the top guys today. He was winning everything and was patient with the ball.”
Senior Jim Morahan recorded two saves in his fourth shutout of the season. Lehigh outshot the Spiders 14-5 and had a 7-2 corner kick advantage.
In the other game of the Lafayette Puma Classic, Columbia defeated Lafayette 2-1. With the Leopards loss, Lehigh won the Sixth Annual Lafayette Puma Soccer Classic title Sophomore Adam Gazda, Morahan, Taranto and Verdi were all named to the all-tournament team.
The Mountain Hawks will travel to Binghamton on Wednesday to take on the Bearcats at 4:00 pm. It will be the first of three-straight road games for Lehigh.