BETHLEHEM, Pa. - The Lehigh women’s soccer team begins its “second season” on Friday when it travels to Navy to face the top-seeded Midshipmen in the Patriot League Semifinals. Kickoff is set for 7 p.m. following the first semifinal of the day (#3 American vs. #2 Colgate) at 3 p.m. The Mountain Hawks are riding three straight wins to advance to their second Patriot League Tournament in the last three years. Two seasons ago, Lehigh was the #3 seed and defeated second-seed Bucknell and #1 Army to capture the program’s first-ever Patriot League Championship.
After dropping their first four Patriot League contests (all on the road), the Mountain Hawks won their final three games at home to snatch the fourth-seed in this weekend’s tournament. Lehigh began with a hard-fought 2-1 overtime win against Bucknell before shutting out first-place Colgate (1-0) and beating Holy Cross in convincing fashion (4-0).
The Mountain Hawks allowed a goal just 30 seconds into the Bucknell game, but have since held opponents scoreless for the last 285:01 entering the Patriot League Tournament. Freshman Ani Nahapetian has been in goal for every second, picking up her first two career shutouts while winning Patriot League Goalkeeper of the Week following the Bucknell and Colgate weekend.
Also honored this week were freshman Paige Elliott and junior Murphee Greeley, earning All-Patriot League laurels, while sophomore Darby Dustman garnered Academic All-League. Elliott and Greeley both earned Patriot League weekly awards following the Holy Cross victory, garnering Defensive and Offensive Player of the Week, respectively.
Admission is $7 for adults and $5 for youth. Only one ticket is needed for the Friday doubleheader. There will be live video and statistics available for the entire Patriot League Tournament.
All fans without a Department of Defense sticker on their vehicle must park outside of the U.S. Naval Academy grounds. Fans may park at Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium for $5. Free shuttle buses will run every 10 minutes between Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium and the Glenn Warner Soccer Facility. The shuttle buses will start running one hour before the first game, throughout the entire doubleheader on Friday and for one hour after the second game is complete. Shuttle schedule and pick up location are subject to change. Please call 1-800-US4-NAVY for more information. Fans are reminded that pets are not allowed in the Glenn Warner Soccer Facility.
This marks Lehigh’s sixth Patriot League Tournament appearance in program history, to go with appearances in 1994, 2004, 2005, 2006 and 2010. The Mountain Hawks are vying for their second-ever league championship and NCAA Tournament appearance after defeating Army in the 2010 Championship Game before facing Virginia in the NCAA Tournament. Lehigh has faced Navy once in the Patriot League Tournament, falling to the Midshipmen (2-0) on Nov. 3, 2006.
Navy has enjoyed a stellar regular season, going 18-1-1. After dropping its season opener against Maryland on Aug. 17, the Midshipmen haven’t lost since. Ashlynn Soellner leads the team with 27 points behind 10 goals and seven assists. Morgan Dankanich is right behind with 24 points (10 goals, four assists) while Paloma Perez owns 18 (five goals, eight assists) and Kaylie Davidson has 17 (seven goals, three assists). Five others have eight points or more. Patriot League Goalie of the Year Elizabeth Hoerner has started 18 of the 20 games, owning a 1.07 GAA and .800 save percentage. Alexes Lopez-Shaw has started the other two contests and hasn’t allowed a goal in 290:52 of action.
Navy holds a 13-4-4 advantage in the all-time series after its 1-0 overtime win in the regular season. Lehigh won last season’s meeting, 1-0 behind a Greeley goal while the sides tied in 2010, 1-1. The first meeting between the two teams came in 1993, a 4-0 road victory for Lehigh.
With a win, Lehigh would advance to the Patriot League Championship Game for the second time in the last three seasons. The Mountain Hawks would face the winner of #3 American and #2 Colgate on Sunday at 2 p.m.
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