Lehigh's men's soccer team practices before its game against Fairleigh Dickinson on Oct. 21. Lehigh hosted Navy in their final regular-season home game on Oct. 29. The team beat Colgate University by a score of 3-1 on Saturday. (Anna Simoneau/B&W photo)

Lehigh men’s soccer ties 1-1 against Navy in double overtime game

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The Lehigh men’s soccer team concluded its home schedule with a double overtime 1-1 tie against No. 23 nationally ranked Navy Wednesday night at Ulrich Sports Complex.

The Mountain Hawks move to 3-3-1 in the Patriot League and 8-7-1 overall while second-ranked Navy moves to 5-1-1 in league play.

“Before the game, our goal was to high press them because they are a passing-oriented team, so we wanted to keep the energy high the entire game and disrupt Navy’s usual playing style, which I think we did well,” sophomore defender Justin Worley said.

Lehigh’s single goal was scored in the 53rd minute when sophomore left wing Gianfranco Giammatteo gathered the ball at the top 18th, turned and shot after being assisted by senior Ali Famili. Navy retaliated when Sam Bascom scored an unassisted goal four minutes later. Neither team could find the back of the net for the remainder of the game.

“We need to work on handling the other team better after we score,” Giammatteo said. “We get a little too excited after we score and don’t stay focused like we should.”

In the second half, Navy came out strong firing off five shots in the first few minutes, but Lehigh’s senior goalkeeper, Ciaran Nugent, proved to be effective in stopping any shot that was on goal.

“I thought we contained their dangerous players really well throughout the game, and we were able to possess the ball a lot and play our game,” Giammatteo said.

Nugent helped the Mountain Hawks break Navy’s six-game winning streak by making a career high of nine saves. Nugent’s best save occurred on the first shot of the game when he dove to stop a shot from Navy’s Thomas Shiiba.

“Our goalie, Ciaran, did an excellent job,” sophomore captain Danny Gonzalez said. “He was all over the place saving shots and he really stepped up for us big time.”

In overtime, the teams exchanged possession for most of the first overtime period. Lehigh was able to get off three shots in the first overtime period, but neither team was able to find the back of the net.

“We created a lot of chances in the final third, but at the end of the day we didn’t finish,” Gonzalez said. “Navy had chances too but that’s soccer for you.”

After this match, Lehigh is tied for fourth place in the Patriot League. The team closes out regular season play with two away league games with the hope of clinching a spot in the Patriot League Tournament. The team’s next matchup is against Colgate University on Saturday at 4 p.m., and will finish out its regular season play at Holy Cross the following week.

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