BETHLEHEM, Pa. – Coming off a dramatic first victory on Tuesday night, Lehigh men’s soccer team will look to ride that momentum into its second league game of the year against Colgate as the Mountain Hawks will travel to Hamilton, N.Y. on Saturday for a match against the Raiders at 7 p.m. It will be Lehigh’s first Patriot League road test after a four-game homestead in which the Mountain Hawks generated tremendous crowd support and an impressive victory over a nationally-recognized Penn State.
Colgate holds a 12-9-16 all-time advantage over Lehigh, with the last match ending in a Raiders’ Patriot League Tournament win on penalty kicks, 5-4, after a 0-0 draw through two overtimes. The last win for the Mountain Hawks over the Raiders came in 2009 when Lehigh earned a 2-1 victory in overtime.
In their last match Lehigh consistently pressured Penn State, keeping the ball on the Nittany Lion half of the pitch for a good portion of the first half. The Mountain Hawks’ best first half scoring opportunity was a header by senior captain Cameron Omsberg, but the attempt was saved by Penn State keeper Andrew Wolverton.
Penn State was able to record six shots throughout the first half, but only one would test goalkeeper Taylor Sulmonetti and the senior was up for the task. At the conclusion of the half, Penn State scrambled to play in a corner kick, and as a shot was ripped from about 30 yards out, it found the back of the net but the referees had ruled that time had expired and the goal was waved off.
Penn State kept the pressure on the Lehigh defense in the second half, firing six shots on-goal throughout the second period but Sulmonetti was there each time to make the save. With 16:30 remaining in the half, Sulmonetti went down with an injury after clearing the ball, forcing regular starter Ciaran Nugent off the bench for the duration of the game.
The Mountain Hawks were able to pressure the Penn State defense down the final stretch of the match, and with 49 seconds to play, sealed a win when senior Matt Weaver connected off a cross from junior James Meyerkord and found the back of the net to give Lehigh a 1-0 lead. The goal snapped a three-game winning streak and a four-game scoreless streak by the Nittany Lions and was the first goal scored on the Penn State defense since Georgetown scored two on Sept. 2 in the Nittany Lions’ only other loss of the year.
Sophomore Brian Suchoski leads the team with four points via two goals through eight games for the Mountain Hawks. Weaver is second with two points, while Meyerkord, freshman Dilan Casanovas Mack and junior Ben Wysocki have each recorded an assist. On defense, Nugent has collected 29 saves and posted a .774 save percentage and a 1.63 goals against average, while Sulmonetti has tallied 13 saves over his two starts, allowing just one score.
Colgate enters Saturday’s contest with a 1-4-4 record, fresh off a 1-1 draw against American on Alumni Weekend. Down 1-0, Colgate senior Patrick Letourneau tied the game in the 67th minute when he found the back of the net off a corner kick from senior Mike Garzi. Though the Raiders outshot the Eagles in the extra sessions, the contest would remain tied through two overtimes as both teams are now 0-0-1 in the Patriot League.
Colgate is led by senior Mike Reidy with four points via two two goals, while Garzi has added a goal and an assist on the season. Colgate has played three different goalkeepers this season, but senior Grant Reed has logged the most time in net, leading the defense with 15 saves and a .536 save percentage over seven games this season.
Saturday night will cap off a four-game homestand for the Raiders in which they are currently 0-1-2 following a loss to Wofford and draws with Vermont and American.
After Saturday’s game with Colgate, the Mountain Hawks will return home to face rival Lafayette on Oct. 6 in their third Patriot League match of the season. Game time is set for 7 p.m. at the Ulrich Sports Complex.