BETHLEHEM, Pa. - The Lehigh women’s soccer team scored early and often, while allowing only eight shots, in a dominant 4-0 Senior Day win over Holy Cross on Saturday afternoon. With the victory, the Mountain Hawks have advanced to the Patriot League Tournament for the second time in the last three seasons where they look for their second league championship in that span. Junior Murphee Greeley led the way with a pair of goals to tie a career high.
“It was great,” said Lehigh head coach Eric Lambinus. “It was like a double win because we didn’t want anyone to find out what the other [out of town] results were; we just wanted to worry about our game. The girls are really excited and they’ve earned it. Hopefully we can represent Lehigh the right way in the Patriot League Tournament next weekend.”
With the win coupled with Bucknell’s loss at Navy and Colgate’s tie at American, Lehigh clinched the fourth seed in the Patriot League standings. Even if Army defeats Lafayette on Sunday, the Mountain Hawks would capture a potential three-way tiebreaker to earn the #4 seed regardless.
Lehigh will travel to top-seeded (and host) Navy on Friday for the Patriot League Semifinals. The Midshipmen eked out an overtime win over the Mountain Hawks in the regular season matchup.
Saturday was also Senior Day as Mary Grace Doyle, Ardyn Olszko, Jaime Townsend and Isabelle Li were recognized for their careers in the Brown and White.
“It was really exciting,” said Greeley. “We knew if we came out today, played hard and got a win, we’d have a very good chance. But we didn’t want to psyche ourselves out, get too excited or lose focus. It was really about just coming out here and playing our game.
“Once we heard we were in, it was just super exciting,” Greeley continued. “We’ve worked really hard for this.”
Lehigh came out the aggressor, taking six of the game’s first seven shots. Junior Paige Dyrek had a glittering chance in the 16th minute, but Holy Cross goalie Carly McCabe came out strong to make the save before Dyrek could get a clean shot off.
Just over eight minutes later, Greeley converted as she dribbled in from the midfield then fired a lefty shot from the corner of the box into the top-right corner of the net. That made it 1-0 Mountain Hawks at the 23:58 mark.
Darby Wiegand had a chance in the 33rd minute that hit the right post, but just over two minutes later, the sophomore converted an unsettled situation to make it 2-0 at 34:14. McCabe came out near the top of the box to stop a Katie Centeno header, but Wiegand lofted one behind the keeper and into the open net.
The Mountain Hawks made it 3-0 early in the second half as Dyrek made a move on the left side and fired one inside the left post, beating new Holy Cross goalie Ashlyn Angell. That came in the 54th minute. Greeley then added Lehigh’s fourth goal less than 10 minutes later as freshman Paige Elliott made a hard pass towards the left post, which Greeley put home at 63:03.
Final shots were 22-8 in favor of Lehigh while corner kicks were 4-1 Mountain Hawks. McCabe and Angell combined for 12 saves while freshman Ani Nahapetian stood tall with four for Lehigh.
“We always knew we had the potential to do [this], but we weren’t tapping it,” said Lambinus. “As coaches, I don’t know if we were doing a good enough job in getting them to believe in the things that we wanted them to believe in. We have a huge amount of potential.
“I enjoy coaching this team right now,” Lambinus continued. “I’m excited. We’ll take on anybody and we’ll see how the cards fall. We’ll go out with the right mindset this week and see what happens next weekend.”
The Mountain Hawks will play at Navy on Friday in the Patriot League Semifinals while #2 seed Colgate faces #3 American in the other semifinal contest. Check back to Lehighsports.com for complete information on the tournament, as they become available.
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