Posted: 09/21/2012 | Last updated: September 21, 2012 at 09:44 PM
BETHLEHEM, Pa. – Despite a strong all-around effort, the Lehigh women’s soccer team dropped a 2-1 overtime decision to visiting Saint Joseph’s Friday night at the Ulrich Sports Complex. Sophomore Darby Wiegand pulled the Mountain Hawks even late in the first half, but Nicole King delivered the game-winner for the Hawks in the 95th minute.
The loss drops Lehigh to 1-6 on the season, while Saint Joseph’s improves to 5-4-1.
“It’s still a loss, but we’re playing much better,” explained Lehigh head coach Eric Lambinus. “We’re completing passes. We’re dangerous. We’re defending much better, but you still want to get results. The good thing is we’re getting better as we proceed towards Patriot League play, but we need to start turning it around and making our run.”
Lehigh nearly netted an early goal for the second straight game, as junior Murphee Greeley chipped a shot over the onrushing Hawks goalkeeper in the first minute, but the Saint Joseph’s defense cleared the ball off the line.
Saint Joseph’s struck for the game’s first goal in the 19th minute as King played a low ball into the middle of the box and Shannon Farrell’s header caught sophomore goalkeeper Ashley Blanks out of position.
The Mountain Hawks’ equalizer came shortly after a corner kick in the 40th minute as Greeley played the ball in short to sophomore Danielle Salans, whose cross was headed home by Wiegand for her first goal of the season.
“(Going down a goal) has been something we’ve been struggling with,” Lambinus said. “We just needed to stay focused and to the things we can. Tonight we responded well to going down a goal and we scored a great goal.”
The second half featured several quality chances from both sides as well as an increase in fouls on both ends. Saint Joseph’s nearly took the lead three minutes into the half, but an apparent go-ahead goal was ruled offside.
Lehigh had two good opportunities in the latter portion of the half, but Hawks keeper Christine Neal made a save on a Salans header in the 80th minute and then stopped Darby Dustman on a free kick attempt three minutes later.
Saint Joseph’s almost netted the game-winner in the 87th minute as Mo Hawkins slow rolling shot banged off the far post and then King’s rebound attempt was stopped by sprawling freshman Ana Nahapetian.
The overtime period featured just one shot, the game-winner from King at 94:17. Jill Root fed King who scored on a bending shot from the right side of the 18-yard box for her second tally of the season.
“There was a lot of ebb and flow to the game,” Lambinus said. “We knew it was going to be that kind of game and we needed to make sure we stayed focused the whole time. We stayed focused. Ani made a huge save. We did a good job of just playing but they scored the goal at the end.”
For the game, Saint Joseph’s held a slight 12-11 advantage in shots and a 4-3 edge in corners. Neal made four saves for the Hawks, while Blanks and Nahapetian each made one save for the Mountain Hawks. The game did become somewhat chippy as it progressed. Fouls were even at three at halftime, but by the end of the contest Saint Joseph’s was whistled for 13 fouls and received three yellow cards, while Lehigh was called for 12 fouls and was issued one booking.
The Mountain Hawks will return to the pitch on Sunday when they host La Salle in their final tune-up before Patriot League play begins next weekend. The match is set for a 1 p.m. start from the Ulrich Sports Complex with live streaming video coverage available at Lehighsports.com.
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