Posted: 11/06/2010 | Last updated: November 6, 2010 at 02:31 PM
WEST POINT, N.Y. – Following a hard-fought 1-0 Patriot League Semifinal win over Bucknell on Friday, the third seeded Lehigh women’s soccer team faces top seed Army in the Patriot League Championship Game on Sunday, with the winner earning the league’s automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament. Kickoff is slated for 1 p.m.
Playing in its first Patriot League Tournament since 2006, Lehigh earned its first postseason victory since 2004 which marked the last time the Mountain Hawks advanced to the championship game. They dropped a 2-0 final to Colgate in ‘04 and are looking for the first league title and NCAA Tournament appearance in program history.
Senior Natalie Hojnacki accounted for the game’s only scoring against the Bison, while senior goalkeeper Lauren Mains stood tall with eight saves to lead the third seeded Lehigh women’s soccer team to victory in the Patriot League Semifinals on Friday evening. A wild back-and-forth affair saw a goal waived off on each side before the Mountain Hawks scored the eventual game-winner midway through the second half.
Army advanced to the title game behind a 1-0 overtime win against the Raiders earlier on Friday. Lehigh and Army last met in the league opener on Oct. 1 in West Point, a 1-0 Black Knight victory. Ever since, the Mountain Hawks have gone undefeated in seven straight games against league foes. They went 4-0-2 to close the regular season, while defeating Bucknell for a second time in less than a month on Friday.
Friday’s victory also improved Lehigh’s record to 10-4-4, marking the first time since 2005 that the Mountain Hawks have reached double figures in wins.
Army has been strong from day one, posting an 8-3 record heading into its regular season matchup against Lehigh, while continuing in league play. The Black Knights went undefeated in the league, but did tie American, Lafayette and Colgate.
A defensive-oriented team, they have allowed only five goals in 20 games all season while scoring 23. Leading the way is goalkeeper Alex Lostetter, who on Friday tied the Patriot League career shutout mark with 31, and owns a 0.20 GAA and .936 save percentage on the season. Monica Lee has also started six games, with a 0.33 GAA and .909 save percentage. Leading the offense is Patriot League Rookie of the Year Kim An with 21 points behind nine goals and three assists. The next leading scorer is Erringer Helbling with seven points (three goals, one assist), while three others each have two.
Lehigh and Army meet for the 22nd time (and second in the postseason) with the Black Knights leading the all-time series, 14-4-3. The teams did meet in the 1994 Patriot League Tournament, a 5-0 Army victory. The Mountain Hawks are 2-7-1 at Army, which includes this season’s defeat. Four of the last five games against the Black Knights have gone to overtime while the teams have split the last seven meetings overall, each winning twice to go along with three ties.
With a win, the Mountain Hawks would earn the league’s automatic bid into the 64-team NCAA Tournament which begins next weekend.
Live stats and video are available for Sunday’s match through Patriot League All-Access.