Posted: September 14, 2007
BETHLEHEM, Pa.- Lehigh won its second game in a row Friday night, defeating Rutgers 2-1 in overtime. Kyle Evans scored the game winner less than one minute into overtime, his second goal of the contest off a header on a feed from senior Michael Hessemer, who recorded the assist for his first point of the season. Lehigh improves its record to 2-1, while Rutgers falls to 1-3-1 on the season.
The Mountain Hawks and Scarlet Knights played to a scoreless first half with Rutgers out shooting Lehigh four to three. Rutgers almost got on the board first, in the 17th minute, when Scarlet Knights forward Kevin O’Connor split the defense, but Hessemer was able to recover in time to end the threat.
Twelve minutes later the Scarlet Knights narrowly snuck one by Mountain Hawks goalkeeper Brian Lee, as the shot hit the crossbar and bounced over the net. The Brown and White had the best scoring opportunity in the half when Evans had an open shot at the net with just ten seconds remaining, however, Matt VanOekel made the stop to keep the game scoreless going into halftime.
“We really tried to press hard in the first half and come out with an early goal,” said head coach Dean Koski. “However, they were playing a man down which made it difficult, and the fouls kept disrupting the flow of the game.”
The second half action started early as Evans put the Mountain Hawks on the board first in the 53rd minute with his second goal of the season. Patrick Starsinic put the free kick into the box and Evans was able to head it past VanOekel for the goal. Rutgers would not wait long to strike back, as Aly Mazhar put the Scarlet Knights on the board in the 57th minute.
Play started to get a little physical in the 80th minute, when VanOekel charged out of the net and was taken down by a Lehigh player. On the ensuing corner kick, Rutgers back Jake Martenson threw a punch, which resulted his ejection from the game. Starsinic was also given a yellow card for his actions during the scuffle. In total, there were four yellow cards and one red card handed out during the match, and a total of 37 fouls between the two teams.
“The game got physical because Rutgers was not afraid to mix it up and they knew we were not afraid it mix it up either,” said Koski. “I have to give credit to the referees though, they did a good job of keeping it under control and calling an even game.”
Lehigh had a great chance to get the win with only a couple minutes left in regulation, as Evans fed a streaking Jim Taranto with only one man to beat, however, Rutgers back Kyle Grato knocked the ball away to keep the game tied heading into overtime.
The Evans goal came at 90:47, as he headed the ball past VanOekel to secure the win. It was his third goal of the season, and came on his sixth shot of the game. As a team, Lehigh recorded ten shots, and three on goal, while Rutgers had six shots and three on goal. Brian Lee stopped two shots to earn his second win of the season.
The Mountain Hawks return to action Sunday when they travel to Teaneck, New Jersey to take on the Fairleigh Dickinson Knights. The first road game of the season for Lehigh will start at 1 p.m.