BETHLEHEM, Pa. – The Lehigh men’s soccer team will welcome Brown University to the Ulrich Sports Complex on Sunday for a mid-day weekend match-up with the Bears at 1 p.m. The Mountain Hawks are reeling from a 2-0 loss to La Salle on Wednesday night despite great offensive pressure and five saves from junior goalkeeper Ciaran Nugent. Lehigh is hoping to rebound and execute its game plan as the Mountain Hawks have steadily improved each game thus far, looking for culmination on Sunday afternoon.
Lehigh is 0-2-1 all-time against the Bears with the last meeting taking place in 2009, ending in a 1-1 draw in Providence, RI. This time, the Bears will have to travel to Bethlehem and play the Mountain Hawks on their own turf as Lehigh will be searching for its first win of 2012.
The Mountain Hawks fell behind in the 51st minute on Wednesday night when La Salle scored on a rebound off of a Nugent save to break the scoreless tie. Later, Lehigh began to chase the game, firing a flurry of shots on La Salle keeper John McCarthy but with the extensive pressure, the Mountain Hawks defense broke down and off a clear from McCarthy, La Salle midfielder Kameron Teel found himself one-on-one with Nugent. As Nugent came out of the net to try and cut down Teel’s attack, the Explorer headed the ball over Nugent’s head and into the back of the net to finalize the score at 2-0.
The loss dropped Lehigh to 0-5-0 on the season but the Mountain Hawks have started to find their offensive firepower as of late. Sophomore Brian Suchoski was able to rip five shots in the previous game, four of them on-goal to test the Explorers’ keeper. On Sunday, the Mountain Hawks will look to keep that pressure on the Bears and find the back of the net on a stingy Brown defense.
Lehigh’s offense is led by Suchoski, as the forward has scored two goals this season, tallying a team-best four points. Freshman Dilan Casanovas Mack and junior Ben Wysocki have each recorded an assist thus far in 2012 for a point apiece. On defense, Nugent has played all 462 minutes in goal for the Mountain Hawks this season, registering 24 saves and a .727 save percentage.
Brown will enter tomorrow’s game 4-1-0, coming off a 1-0 overtime win over Boston University on Thursday night. The Bears needed just 40 seconds of overtime to end the game when freshman Tim Whalen scored his first collegiate goal on a header to cap off Brown’s fourth shutout of the season. The only goal Brown has given up this season came in a 1-0 loss to Fordham in the Brown Classic with Siena College.
Senior Dylan Remick leads the Brown offense with three points on the season, scoring a goal and assisting on another. Four other Bears have scored this year to give them two points apiece, while freshman Jameson Lochhead has assisted on two goals to give him two points as well. Senior goalkeeper Sam Kernan-Schloss has played all 451 minutes in net for the Bears, collecting 10 saves and posting a .909 save percentage.
Brown recently dropped out of the top 25 NCAA Division I soccer rankings after its 1-0 loss to Fordham on Sept. 9. The Bears are now ranked eighth in the Northeast Regional Rankings by the National Soccer Coaches Association of America (NSCCA) as of Sept. 11.
Following the Sunday showdown with Brown, Lehigh will break for five days before continuing its four-game homestand by opening Patriot League play on Saturday when it hosts Bucknell at the Ulrich Sports Complex at 7 p.m.