BETHLEHEM, Pa. – Lehigh men’s soccer head coach Dean Koski has announced the Mountain Hawks’ 2012 schedule, revealing a slate that features eight home contests, five of which will be played in the team’s first eight matches of the season. Combined with tough Patriot League games, Lehigh will be challenged in its non-league schedule, facing schools from seven different conferences and three NCAA Tournaments, two of which advanced to the Sweet 16.
“I like the competitive balance in our schedule as well as the distribution of conferences,” said head coach Dean Koski, who enters his 21st season at the helm for Lehigh. “It will be quite challenging, but hopefully we can be successful. It is important to do well early on with five homes games in our first eight matches because it gets harder in the second half of the season.”
Lehigh will kick off its 2012 schedule on Saturday, August 25 as the Mountain Hawks host Hofstra at 3 p.m. The Pride finished last season 7-10-1 and 4-7 in the Colonial Athletic Association. It will be just the sixth all-time meeting between the two schools with Lehigh holding a 3-1-1 edge. The two school matched up for five straight seasons from 1985-89.
The Mountain Hawks will then hit the road for three straight matches starting on Friday, August 31 as Lehigh travels to take on Stony Brook at 7 p.m. The Seawolves are the defending America East champions and fell in penalty kicks in the first round of the NCAA College Cup. Lehigh and Stony Brook have only met twice before with the most recent match coming last season, as the Mountain Hawks opened their 2011 schedule with a 0-0 double-overtime draw against the Seawolves. In the only other meeting, Lehigh won 1-0 in 2008.
Lehigh will then face Saint Peter’s on Tuesday, September 4 at 3 p.m. and Drexel on Friday, September 7 at 7 p.m. The Mountain Hawks defeated Saint Peter’s 2-0 last season at the Ulrich Sports Complex. The Mountain Hawks will face a Drexel team that went 5-10-3 and 4-5-2 in the CAA last season as the two schools haven’t faced each other since 2007 where Lehigh fell 3-2. Prior to that, the Mountain Hawks won seven straight matches over Drexel.
The Mountain Hawks will return to the Ulrich Sports Complex for four straight matches beginning on Wednesday, September 12 at 7 p.m. vs. LaSalle. The two schools played to a 0-0 double-overtime draw last season. The Explorers went 7-9-4 and 4-2-3 in the Atlantic-10 last season, falling in the A-10 semifinals.
Lehigh will then host Brown Sunday, September 16 at 1 p.m. The Bears went 12-5-3 and 4-1-2 in the Ivy League last season and advanced to the Round of 16 at the NCAA Championships for the second straight season. Lehigh has only faced Brown three times in its history with a 0-2-1 all-time record against the Bears. The most recent match came in 2009 with a 1-1 draw.
The Mountain Hawks will then get set for its Patriot League opener on Saturday, September 22 at 7 p.m. against Bucknell. Lehigh kicked off last season’s Patriot League schedule with a dramatic 1-0 double-overtime win over the Bison in Lewisburg, Pa.
Lehigh went 4-2-2 last season in league play and fell in the Patriot League Tournament semifinals on penalty kicks.
“Nothing has changed within the league,” Koski said. “All of the teams will be competitive and to secure a playoff spot, you’ll probably need to pick up 12-to-14 points. That means winning on the road looms large and taking care of business at home is even more important.”
The Mountain Hawks will cap off its four-match home stand with Penn State Tuesday, September 25 at 7 p.m. The Nittany Lions went 9-9-4 last season and 0-6 in the Big 10 regular season, but did advance to the Big 10 Tournament Championship game. Lehigh and Penn State last met in 2009 which resulted in a 1-1 draw while Penn State holds the all-time record 13-2-5 over Lehigh.
The Mountain Hawks will return to its Patriot League slate with a matchup against defending Patriot League Tournament Champion Colgate on Saturday, September 29 at 4 p.m. The Mountain Hawks battled the Raiders tough twice last season. The first resulted in a 0-0 double-overtime draw in the regular season and Lehigh fell to Colgate in the Patriot League Semifinals on penalty kicks (5-4).
A week later, Lehigh will host rival Lafayette on Saturday, October 6 at 7 p.m. The Mountain Hawks fell to the Leopards last season 1-0 but Lehigh still holds the all-time edge 53-45-10.
Lehigh will then play three straight road homes, two against non-league opponents.
The Mountain Hawks will head to Washington, D.C. to face Georgetown on Tuesday, October 9 at 3 p.m. The two squads have only met once before, with the lone match coming in 1997 when Lehigh fell 6-1. The Hoyas went 10-5-4 last season and 5-3-1 in the BIG EAST and fell in 2-1 in the BIG EAST first round to eventual champion St. Johns.
Lehigh will continue its Patriot League slate at Navy on Saturday, October 13 at 7 p.m. The Mountain Hawks defeated the Mids 2-0 last season.
The Mountain Hawks will conclude its three-game road trip at Yale on Tuesday, October 16 at 7 p.m. Lehigh defeated Yale 1-0 last season, its first win over the Bulldogs after being winless in three chances. Yale went 8-7-2 last season with a 4-3 Ivy record.
Lehigh will return home Saturday, October 20 to host Holy Cross. The Mountain Hawks’ defeated the Crusaders 4-1 last season as those four goals were the most Lehigh scored in a game since scoring four in 2009 against Army.
The Mountain Hawks will hit the road for their final non-league game as Lehigh travels to take on perennial ACC power Maryland Tuesday, October 23 at 7:30 p.m. It will be the fourth all-time meeting between the two schools as Lehigh will be looking for its first-ever win. The two schools met in 2007, 2008 and most recently in 2010. The Terps made their 10th consecutive appearance in the Sweet 16 last season.
Lehigh will finish out its 2012 campaign with a pair of Patriot League opponents. The Mountain Hawks will host American on Saturday, October 27 at 7 p.m. Lehigh fell 1-0 at American, the defending regular season Patriot League champions, last season.
The Mountain Hawks will then conclude its regular season at Army on Saturday, November 3 at 7 p.m Lehigh defeated the Black Knights 3-0 last season in the final game of the regular season to clinch the No. 3 seed in the Patriot League Tournament.
The Patriot League Tournament is scheduled for Friday, November 9 and Sunday, November 11 with all games being hosted by the No. 1 seed.