The Lehigh women’s soccer team played strong defense for much of the night but could not get its offense going as it was defeated by Bucknell University, 3-0, on Senior Night.
Coming off a 1-0 overtime thriller win against rival Lafayette College, Lehigh (7-7-3, 2-4-2 Patriot) spent much of the game on defense, trailing in most offensive categories including shots, shots on goal and corners.
The game featured a scoreless first half as Bucknell out-shot Lehigh 11 to six but was unable to find the back of the net. Lehigh fought back in the second half as Lexi Chang got off a shot that went wide in the 50th minute.
Bucknell responded two minutes later with a goal by sophomore Maddie Mulford. Mulford rocketed the ball into the lower right corner of the goal after a scramble for the ball for the first goal of the game.
As Lehigh hoped for an equalizer, Bucknell kept pressing hard on offense, looking to gain some breathing room. The Bison nearly got it in the 58th minute as a header from Kendell Ham bounded just over the goal, and then four minutes later Lehigh’s defense held strong after a corner led to multiple opportunities for Bucknell.
Bucknell broke through for its second goal in the 75th minute when Riley Coopersmith headed in Bucknell’s fifth corner of the game. The ball barely squeaked into the left corner of the goal through a crowd of both team’s players.
With just eight minutes left, Alexis Gannon made it 3-0 as she broke away from two Lehigh defenders and shot over the diving keeper into the back of the net.
Entering the game, Lehigh and Bucknell ranked third and fourth, respectively, in goals scored in the league, but Lehigh could not scratch across even one as Bucknell, who now leads the league with nine shutouts, held strong throughout. The game featured the league’s top two goalies – Nahapetian entered the game leading in saves while Bucknell’s Jessica Ratner leads in shutouts.
Gannon led the way for Bucknell with a goal and 4 total shots while Lehigh freshman midfielder Sabrina Mertz totaled five shots and three on goal but could not get past Ratner.
Before playing in their final regular season home game, seniors Katie Centeno, Paige Elliott, Madi Morgan, Alex Sangiuliano, Emily Korber, Steph Klaubert and Ani Nahapetian along with their parents were given roses as recognition for their service to the Mountain Hawks.
Friday’s game at American University a must-win to keep Lehigh’s playoff hopes alive. The loss to Bucknell also means it’ll need some help from other teams in order to land a playoff spot.