Junior forward Madeline Walsh keeps the ball in possession during the Women's Soccer game on Saturday Sept. 19, 2015 at 5pm against Holy Cross. Lehigh tied Holy Cross 0-0 as they continue to play strong throughout the 2015-2016 season. (Madeleine Centrella B&W/Photo)

Lehigh women’s soccer and Holy Cross finish in scoreless tie

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In an evenly matched showdown, the Lehigh women’s soccer team was unable to come up with a goal in Saturday’s matchup against College of the Holy Cross, resulting in a 0-0 draw in double overtime.

This matchup against Holy Cross marked Lehigh’s Patriot League opener for the season. Lehigh (4-2-2) played tough throughout the game and was able to stay with Holy Cross even through two overtime periods. Strong defense, including three saves from senior goalkeeper Ani Nahapetian, allowed the team to secure the tie.

“As a team I think we played really well defensively,” Nahapetian said. “We limited their chances and were very composed on the ball even when the game got frantic.”

Lehigh’s first shot on goal during the game occurred in the 23rd minute when sophomore midfielder Adrian Vitello fired a shot, but the Holy Cross goalkeeper was there to make the save. Two minutes later, Lehigh had another crucial opportunity to score when freshman midfielder/defender Clare Severe forced a turnover and was able to get a shot off, which was also saved.

“Our strength was definitely that we played well defensively, and we didn’t give the other team any dangerous opportunities during the game,” freshman midfielder Sabrina Mertz said.

After three more unsuccessful shot attempts from the Mountain Hawks in the second half of the game, including what appeared to be a goal but was whistled offsides, the game went into overtime. No shots on goal were fired in either overtime period.

“The motivation in overtime comes from wanting to win,” Nahapetian said. “As a team we are pretty fit, so the extra minutes don’t really bother us. We just want to win and I think we do have the ability to overcome this tie and start winning games.”

Even though the team played well, especially defensively, it struggled to keep the ball on the offensive side of the field. Offensively, Lehigh had several turnovers when it had opportunities to create a shot or make a pass.

“We just had a really slow start,” junior forward Tori Pantaleo said. “We really need to work on connecting passing. Our practices also weren’t great this week which really translated into the game.”

Although the result was not what the team was hoping for, it now sees where it stands in Patriot League play and has a week of practice to make the improvements that need to be made before the next game.

“The result gives us a good reality check of where we stand,” Nahapetian said. “I think now we understand what needs to be done to win a game. We have to put the work in and can’t just expect to win.”

The team will play again Sept. 26 when it hosts Colgate University at 7 p.m.

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