BETHLEHEM, Pa. – After a draw in the team’s season opener against Stony Brook on Saturday, the Lehigh men’s soccer team will look for its first win of the 2011 season when it travels to take on Fordham on Wednesday at 7 p.m.
It will be the 11th all-time meeting between the two schools; the Mountain Hawks hold a 6-2-2 edge overall. Lehigh is 4-1-2 in the previous seven meetings with the lone loss coming last season. Despite outshooting Fordham 19-8, the Mountain Hawks couldn’t put up a tally and fell 1-0.
Lehigh will look to get the offense going as it relied heavily on its defense and sophomore keeper Ciaran Nugent in the season-opening 0-0 tie. Nugent had six saves en route to his second-career shutout in as many career starts which earned him Patriot League Goalkeeper of the Week. Nugent has now played 200 collegiate minutes and has yet to give up a goal.
But to relieve some of that pressure off the back, Lehigh has to do a better job in the attacking third. Koski knows his team is capable of putting the ball in the back of the net as the Mountain Hawks scored six goals in two preseason games, but now it’s just about execution.
"We gave away too many balls and we were a little sloppy against Stony Brook," said Koski. "The first step for us is to do a better job of possessing the ball. When we looked back at the film from Saturday, it was evident we did a poor job of connecting passes without pressure."
Wednesday’s game will be Fordham’s season-opener as its originally slated opener against Hartford on Saturday was stopped and ruled a no-contest due to Hurricane Irene. Nearly 60 minutes of action was played and Fordham was leading 2-1 before play was stopped and as a result, the match did not count.
The Rams are coming off a 2010 season in which it went 10-8 overall as the 10 victories were the most by any time under head coach Jim McElderry. Offensively, the team is led by All Atlantic-10 Second Team honoree Tim Richardson who posted 10 points last season and was also named First Team All-Mid-Atlantic by the NSCAA.
On defense, Fordham returns goalkeeper Ryan Meara who was named a First Team All A-10 performer and, like Richardson, was chosen as a First Team All-Mid-Atlantic member.
"Fordham is a really good team," said Koski. "They are organized, well coached, disciplined and have very good players including an exceptional goalkeeper. But our focus is just going to be on what we need to do to be successful."