An early strike in the second half secured the win for Lehigh’s men’s soccer team and its advancement into the Patriot League semifinals.
Rain poured down as fourth-seeded Lehigh team faced the fifth-seeded Bucknell University Bisons in the Patriot League Tournament quarterfinals. This is the second year in a row these two teams have faced off in the quarterfinals.
Last year, Lehigh fell 4-0 to Bucknell, who went on to win the league championship. This year, Lehigh (11-5-3) came out on top, shutting out Bucknell 2-0 Tuesday night at the Ulrich Sports Complex.
Lehigh scored 15 minutes into the first half off the foot of freshman forward Mark Forrest, which was assisted by senior forward/midfielder Jamie Luchini on Lehigh’s first recorded shot of the game. Sophomore forward Doyle Tuvesson’s unassisted strike to the top corner of the goal 2:46 into the second half secured the win for Lehigh.
Sophomore goalkeeper Joe Bogan had a career day in goal for Lehigh, recording a personal record of 13 saves to help Lehigh secure its ninth shutout of the season. Coach Dean Koski said Bogan’s performance was huge for the team tonight.
“And that’s what you need from the keepers,” Koski said, “We are not as good as we would like to be defensively so you want your keeper to play big for us and he was really big for us today.
Koski said Lehigh came into the game wanting to play a defensive game and limit Bucknell getting to the net. While they were successful in keeping them out of the net, Bucknell registered 13 shots to Lehigh’s six, showing some holes in Lehigh’s defense.
“We wanted to make sure that we were solid defensively,” Koski said. “And while I don’t think it was our best game, we did what we needed to do to keep them off the board.”
Despite not having its best night on either side of the ball, Koski found some positives in the team’s performance. Last time these two teams faced off earlier this season, Lehigh recorded 30 shots for one goal. This time around, the team was more efficient on its shooting — Koski said he will take efficiency over shot totals any day.
“If you can find two goals in a Patriot League playoff, then I think you have a good chance of winning,” Koski said.
The weather played a part in this matchup, as the game went on while the rain picked up more and more. Both keepers had a hard time staying on their feet after a punt or a goal kick. Koski said it made it more difficult to play, but since it affected both teams, it neutralized the overall impact.
Lehigh hasn’t won the tournament since 2000 and entered this year’s tournament as one of four teams ranked in the same spot as last year. For the second year in a row, American University (third seed), Army West Point (six seed), Bucknell (fifth seed) and Lehigh (fourth seed) entered this year’s tournament with the same seeding as last year.
Lehigh will take on No. 2 seed Colgate University in the Patriot League semifinals on Friday at Colgate. The team played Colgate very early on in the season, beating them 1-0 on Oct. 3 at home.