BETHLEHEM, Pa. – Fresh off its first Patriot League win of the season, the Lehigh men’s soccer team will travel to New Haven, CT for a non-league tilt against the Bulldogs of Yale on Tuesday before returning to Patriot League play on Saturday afternoon to host Holy Cross. This will be the second meeting in as many years between the Mountain Hawks and Bulldogs, with Lehigh coming out on top last season, 1-0.
Yale holds a 3-1 advantage in the all-time series, as this will be just the fifth meeting between the two programs since their first encounter in 1995, which resulted in a 2-1 Bulldog victory. Last year, Joe Puleo scored in the 30th minute for the Mountain Hawks after taking a pass from Kevin Strunk for the only score of the game, as Lehigh picked up its first victory of the season in its third match.
In their last match, sophomore Rylan Collins started the scoring when he volleyed a cross from freshman Kyle Chin into the back of the net for his first goal of the season to give the Mountain Hawks a 1-0 lead in the 12th minute. Navy leveled the score three minutes into the second half, but the draw was short-lived as Collins found sophomore Ali Famili inside the back left post after the Mids turned the ball over in their own end. Famili put the ball past the Navy net minder for the eventual game-winner, giving Lehigh its first Patriot League win of the season and handing the Mids their first league loss. The Mountain Hawks played solid defense, turning away Navy opportunities all night, while junior keeper Ciaran Nugent made four saves to preserve the Lehigh win.
Sophomore Brian Suchoski continues to lead the Mountain Hawks’ attack with his two goals for four points, but Collins is now right on his heels with three points after his goal and assist against Navy. Senior Matt Weaver and Famili have each scored this season for two points, while freshmen Dilan Casanovas Mack and Kyle Chin, and juniors Ben Wysocki and James Meyerkord have each assisted on a Lehigh score. On defense, Nugent has played in 11 games, making eight starts. Over his 902 minutes in net, he has made 45 saves and posted a .714 save percentage as the leader of the Mountain Hawk net protection.
Yale will enter Tuesday’s contest reeling from a 3-0 loss to No. 16 Cornell on Friday, the Bulldogs’ sixth loss of the season and second-consecutive to an Ivy League-foe. Cornell scored all three goals in the second half within a 20-minute span. The 3-0 defeat was the ninth time Yale has been shutout this season, resulting in six losses and three ties. Each time the Bulldogs have scored a goal in a game, they have gone on to win the match.
Five different Bulldogs have scored this season, while three of those scorers have assisted on another goal. Juniors Peter Jacobson, Jenner Fox and Scott Armburst have recorded three points via a goal and an assist, while sophomores Kevin Michalak and Conner Lachenbruch round out the goal scorers this season. On defense, senior Bobby Thalman has started 12 games for the Bulldogs, making 58 saves and posting a 0.99 goals against average and a .829 save percentage over his 1095 minutes in net this season. His 58 saves are an Ivy League best, while his five shutouts and .829 save percentage rank him second among Ivy League competitors.
Tuesday’s match will be the non-league finale for Yale, as for the Mountain Hawks, they will return to Patriot League play when they host Holy Cross at 4 p.m. on Saturday, October 20 at the Ulrich Sports Complex.