Posted: 10/19/2012 | Last updated: October 19, 2012 at 08:33 AM
BETHLEHEM, Pa. – Riding a two-game winning streak, the Lehigh men’s soccer team will welcome the Crusaders of Holy Cross into Ulrich Sports Complex this Saturday for a crucial Patriot League tilt that could hold postseason implications. The Mountain Hawks will enter tomorrow’s game coming off a win against Navy for their first Patriot League win last Saturday, before dropping Yale on Tuesday night courtesy of a late goal by junior James Meyerkord in the 88th minute.
Lehigh holds a 10-8-6 advantage in the all-time series and has won three-consecutive games against the Crusaders dating back to October of 2009. Throughout that three-game winning streak, the Mountain Hawks have outscored Holy Cross 9-1 and have not lost to the Crusaders since a 2-1 defeat in October of 2007.
In their last match, the Mountain Hawks toppled Yale in New Haven, CT. on Tuesday night. Lehigh consistently pressured the Yale defense, outshooting the Bulldogs 17-13 throughout the match, while the defense remained strong, allowing just three shots-on-goal. Forward James Meyerkord was able to score the game-winner in the 88th minute when he raced through the midfield and blasted a left-footed shot inside the near post to give Lehigh the 1-0 lead. This coming after he previously had a goal waved off because he was offside. The junior forward attacked the net all night, firing five shots towards the Yale goal throughout the match. Junior goalkeeper Ciaran Nugent remained strong in net for Lehigh, making all three saves necessary to preserve the shutout, while the rest of the defense turned away any other Bulldog opportunities.
Sophomore Brian Suchoski continues to lead the Mountain Hawk attack with his two goals for four points, but Meyerkord and sophomore Rylan Collins are right behind him with three points apiece. Senior Matt Weaver found the back of the net when he scored a dramatic game-winner against Penn State earlier in the year, while sophomore Ali Famili has also added a game-winner this season, scoring in the 72nd minute to beat Navy for his two points. Freshmen Dilan Casanovas Mack and Kyle Chin, along with junior Ben Wysocki have each assisted on a Mountain Hawk goal. On defense, Nugent has made 48 saves over his 12 games played (nine starts), posting a .727 save percentage and a 1.63 goals against average.
Holy Cross will enter Saturday’s showdown after a 1-0 home win against New Hampshire on Tuesday night. Junior Tommy Uttaro found the back of the net from the right side of the box off an assist from junior Kevin O’Connell in the 70th minute for the game’s lone score. On defense, freshman Kevin Wright played all 90 minutes in net for Holy Cross, making two saves to preserve his second shutout of the season. Prior to Tuesday’s win, the Crusaders had not won since September 22, going 0-2-2 since a 1-0 victory against Army. Holy Cross has yet to win away from its home field, going 0-6-1 on opponents’ turf this season entering Saturday’s road contest.
On the season, junior Josh Cintas leads the Holy Cross attack with five goals and an assist for 11 points, followed by Uttaro who has collected seven points via two goals and three assists. Fellow junior Monty Sanders is third on the team with six points after scoring twice and assisting on two more. On defense, Wright has started six games in net, making 26 saves and posting a .703 save percentage and a 1.58 goals against average over his team-leading 625 minutes in net. Sophomore Michael Thompson has also started six games for the Crusaders, making 18 saves for a .600 save percentage and a 2.16 goals against average.
After Saturday’s match, the Mountain Hawks will travel to play their toughest non-league match-up, as they will face-off against the top-ranked Maryland Terrapins on Tuesday, October 23 for a match slated to start at 7:30 p.m. in College Park, Md.