BETHLEHEM, Pa. – The Lehigh men’s soccer team will look capture its first win when it travels to New York to take on the Stony Brook Seawolves this Friday night. It will be the third meeting between the teams all-time with Lehigh holding a 1-0-1 edge. The Mountain Hawks are seeking to build off of their numerous scoring opportunities they initiated in the 2-0 loss to Hofstra last weekend.
The Mountain Hawks and Seawolves squared off last year in Lehigh’s season opener and ended in a scoreless draw after two overtimes. Lehigh managed seven corner kicks and out-shot Stony Brook 12-9 in regulation but were unable to take advantage of the multiple scoring opportunities it created. Ciaran Nugent faced a barrage of shots in the overtime periods but stood his ground and denied the Seawolves a score.
Though the Mountain Hawks were unable to put the ball in the back of the net in their 2-0 loss to Hofstra in the 2012 season opener, head coach Dean Koski was pleased with the opportunities his squad created. Sophomore Ali Famili and junior Brian Suchoski were able to muster three shots apiece but neither was able to test the Hofstra goalkeeper. Now it’s just a matter of becoming more effective with the shots.
“We created 10 shots and did that with Ali (Famili) playing for the first time,” said Koski. “I thought he did a nice job of generating some attack. We competed really well and had some bright moments on the day but having one shot of 10 on the frame is not the efficiency we want to see.”
Koski would like to see his team become more harmonized defensively and play with more composure when they control the ball. He believes this will come as the team has more time to play with each other considering the injury-plagued preseason the Mountain Hawks endured.
“I don’t think we were terribly organized defensively in ways that we needed to be,” said Koski. “I think that lack of organization was more of a byproduct of us not really having enough players during preseason to rehearse that.”
“We have to spend some time being more patient with the ball,” said Koski. “I thought we forced a lot of balls that we didn’t need to.”
With the five off-days in-between matches, Koski hopes his team has refocused as the upcoming game against Stony Brook is another opportunity for the Mountain Hawks to progress.
“We need to stay consistently focused throughout the 90 minute game,” said Koski. “I thought we were at times very good against Hofstra and at times I thought we struggled. This next game is another step towards improving.”
Stony Brook will enter Friday’s game with a 1-1-0 record after a 5-0 opening win at Farleigh-Dickinson and a 4-1 loss to Villanova. The Seawolves’ top performer from 2011, Leonardo Fernandes, has contributed a goal and an assist to the six scores by Stony Brook this season.
Lehigh will return home to the Ulrich Sports Complex when it faces off against LaSalle on Wednesday, Sept. 12 at 7 p.m.