ANNAPOLIS, Md. – Sophomores Rylan Collins and Ali Famili each found the back of the net, as the Lehigh men’s soccer team coupled a solid offensive performance with a dominant defense to knocked off Navy, 2-1, for its first Patriot League win of 2012. Collins scored in the first half to give Lehigh a 1-0 lead and then assisted on Famili’s second half game-winner, as Lehigh handed Navy its first Patriot League loss and defeated the Mids for the second-straight season.
"I thought our guys did a really good job of executing the game plan tonight," said head coach Dean Koski. "We were really looking forward to this game to try and manage the Navy attack because they have one of the best in the league."
The Mountain Hawks started the game by putting tremendous pressure on the Navy defense. After a shot by sophomore Brian Suchoski sailed wide, junior Ben Borin fired a blast that hit the crossbar in the 11th minute, but the ball bounced out of harm’s way, keeping the score a 0-0 draw for the time being.
Just a minute after Borin’s crossbar rocket, Collins untied the game when he found the back of the net in the 12th minute off a ball chipped into the Navy box by freshman Kyle Chin. Collins was able to volley the ball past Navy net minder Gavin Snyder and into the center of the goal to give Lehigh an early 1-0 lead. Lehigh finished the first half out-shooting the Mids, 6-5, while junior goalkeeper Ciaran Nugent made the only save necessary to preserve the lead. Junior James Meyerkord helped the Mountain Hawk attack keep pressure on the Navy defense, testing Snyder once more in the first half, but the keeper was able to make the save that time.
Navy started the second half by pestering the Mountain Hawk defense with four corner kicks and a shot, but Nugent was there to make the save and the Lehigh defense turned away the Navy attack. Then, in the 48th minute, the Mids finally got to the Mountain Hawk protection when they were able to even the score at one after sophomore Adam Greenspan scored his fourth goal of the season on a penalty kick.
The draw was short-lived as the Mountain Hawks were able to capitalize on a mistake by the Mids when Collins, again part of the action, gathered a turnover on the Navy half of the field. He then slipped a pass through the Midshipmen defense and found junior Ali Famili inside the left post. Famili put the ball into the back of the net to give Lehigh a 2-1 lead in the match.
Lehigh’s defense was strong the rest of the night, clearing any opportunities the Mids sent its way out of the zone, as it allowed just two shots by Navy to be taken following Famili’s score.
"We had guys step up and have big games for us," said Koski. "This game breathes some life in for us for Patriot League competition."
Collins picked up his first three points of 2012 after his goal and assist, while Famili and Chin also recorded their first points of 2012 via the game-winner and an assist, respectively. Nugent was strong in net, making three saves on the night, while the Mountain Hawk defense allowed just five shots-on-goal over the 90 minutes.
"Ciaran made some big saves and had one of his best games of the season," said Koski. "Rylan scored a big goal for us and I’m hoping we can move forward in a positive way from this result. We want to build some momentum against Yale with another positive performance going into more Patriot League play next weekend."
Lehigh will now idle until Tuesday, October 16, when it will travel to New Haven, Conn. to take on the Yale Bulldogs in a non-league match slated to start at 7 p.m.