BETHLEHEM, Pa. – The Lehigh men’s soccer team fell to La Salle on Wednesday night, 2-0, at the hands of two second-half goals. Junior goalkeeper Ciaran Nugent stopped five Explorer shots and sophomore forward Brian Suchoski was able to get four shots-on-goal, but La Salle seemed to be at the right place at the right time to capitalize on fortunate bounces in the second half.
"We had a great performance tonight from Brian Suchoski," said head coach Dean Koski. "He created a lot of opportunities and worked really hard. Our freshmen who played, some of them in their first start, did really well but it was disappointing that we didn’t get the same kind of effectiveness from our upperclassmen."
The first half started as a defensive battle with the ball played mostly in the middle of the field. Lehigh was able to keep pressure on the Explorer defense, testing the La Salle keeper twice. The Mountain Hawks’ best scoring opportunity came when Suchoski was able to get off a sliding shot in the 42nd minute but La Salle goalkeeper John McCarthy was there to make the sliding save and preserve the scoreless draw for the moment. La Salle tested Nugent just once in the first half when Kevin Pink got a shot off in the 37th minute but Nugent was able to keep the ball out of the back of the net.
In the second half, La Salle broke the scoreless tie in the 51st minute when the Explorers capitalized on a rebound off of a Nugent save. La Salle midfielder Tom Baker crossed the ball from the right side of the box and Rob Friskey got a shot off against Nugent. The Lehigh keeper made the save but off the rebound, La Salle midfielder Joe Farrell slid into the ball and put the Explorers up, 1-0.
La Salle added to its lead in the 77th minute when goalkeeper John McCarthy hit a streaking Kameron Teel on the Lehigh half of the field. Teel was then able to head the ball over Nugent’s head and into the back of the net to make the score 2-0.
The Lehigh offense would pressure the Explorers for the remainder of the game, firing a flurry of shots at McCarthy, but were unable to come up with a score. In the 63rd minute, the Mountain Hawks fired two straight shots at the La Salle keeper, but McCarthy was able to deflect them out of harm’s way to preserve the lead.
"The effort has been great," said Koski. "I’m not disappointed in our work ethic and our commitment, I’m just frustrated that we’re not executing when we need to. That ultimately falls back on me but we’re going to get it sorted out."
The Mountain Hawks will break for three days before hosting previously-ranked Brown on Sunday at 1 p.m. at the Ulrich Sports Complex.