Posted: 09/20/2012 | Last updated: September 20, 2012 at 10:24 PM
BETHLEHEM, Pa. - Following a Sunday road game at Stony Brook, the Lehigh women’s soccer team returns home to host Saint Joseph’s on Friday (7 p.m.) and La Salle Sunday (1 p.m.). The Mountain Hawks look to build off a solid weekend when they defeated regionally-ranked Marist before hanging tough against another regionally-ranked squad in Stony Brook.
Lehigh picked up its first win of the season last Friday, 3-0, over Marist. Goals came from juniors Rosie Vitta and Paige Dyrek, along with sophomore Darby Dustman. Sophomore Ashley Blanks and freshman Ani Nahapetian each played 45 minutes in goal to lead the Mountain Hawks to a shutout. Nahapetian made six saves, including many spectacular stops, to keep a strong offense at bay.
The team got off to a good start Sunday as freshman Paige Elliott scored barely two minutes in to give Lehigh the early lead. The Mountain Hawks gave up the game-tying goal in the 15th minute, then gave up two more in the first 4:18 of the second half and never found an answer for Stony Brook’s offensive outburst. Despite six second-half shots, Lehigh was unable to pull closer. Nahapetian was strong in net once again, making nine saves. She was later honored with honorable mention laurels on the Patriot League weekly honor roll.
The Mountain Hawks’ five goals on the season have come from five different players. Blanks holds a 2.23 goals against average in 362:53 of action while Nahapetian’s is 3.00 through 180:00 in goal. They own strong save percentages of .719 and .727, respectively.
Sunday’s game vs. La Salle will be extra special for Lehigh assistant coach Amy Hough, who used to play and coach for the Explorers.
Saint Joseph’s travels to Lehigh with a 4-4-1 record after losing to Loyola, 3-2, in overtime Sunday. The Hawks scored with just four seconds left in regulation to tie the score at two, but gave up a goal with 1:47 remaining in the second overtime.
Senior Taylor Mallory scored twice for the Hawks and is currently tied for second on the team in goals behind junior Mo Hawkins. Mallory’s two tallies were her first of the year while Hawkins has four. Senior Christine Neal has played all 848:13 in net for Saint Joseph’s, holding a 1.70 goals against average and .746 save percentage.
The Mountain Hawks are 5-6-1 all-time against Saint Joseph’s. The first meeting was in 1996, a 3-1 Lehigh win. Most recently, the Mountain Hawks fell 3-0 at Saint Joseph’s last season.
Reigning Atlantic 10 Regular Season Champion and NCAA Tournament participant La Salle will enter Sunday with a 5-3 record and riding a two-game win streak. Most recently, the Explorers beat Cornell 4-0 at home. They also own an impressive 2-1 win at #20 West Virginia while beating Iona (2-0), Seton Hall (6-2) and Loyola (2-0).
Sophomore Kelsey Haycook leads La Salle with 13 points via six goals and an assist. Junior Renee Washington leads the team in assists with four and also has three goals for 10 points on the year. Junior goalkeeper Gabby Pakhtigian has played, and started, in seven of her team’s eight games and owns a 1.27 GAA.
Lehigh is 7-5-1 all-time against the Explorers. Last season, the Mountain Hawks fell to La Salle, 1-0. The first ever meeting between the two side was in 1992, a 6-3 loss.
After this weekend, the Mountain Hawks will look ahead to Patriot League play when they head to Lafayette next Saturday (Sept. 29) for a 7 p.m. clash with the Leopards.
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