This is the first edition of the fall sports rankings from The Brown and White sports section. This list is the editors’ ranking of the seven varsity Lehigh fall sports based on record, strength of schedule and recent results.
1. Women’s soccer (7-2-1, 1-2-0 Patriot)
Despite coming off its first two losses of the season, the Lehigh women’s soccer team sits atop the first edition of the fall rankings after a historic run to start the year. The team reeled off an unbeaten streak of eight consecutive games to start its fall campaign, the best start in school history. During that span, freshman goalie Sam Miller and her defenders didn’t surrender a goal, which also broke the school record of most shutouts in a season. Miller, along with the team, has garnered national attention as she was named the NSCAA Division I College Player of the Week on Sept. 13 while the Mountain Hawks were ranked No. 9 in the NSCAA Mid-Atlantic Regional Rankings last week.
2. Men’s cross country
The Lehigh men’s cross country team is ranked No. 6 in the Mid-Atlantic region. That list is topped by the No. 8 team in the country, Georgetown University. The Mountain Hawks are fresh off of a convincing win over rival Lafayette College, in which the first 16 finishers of the race were Lehigh runners, giving the team a perfect score. The team also finished first in the Lehigh Invitational to start the year and fourth out of 11 teams in the Spiked Shoe Invitational, an event that featured Georgetown and the nation’s No. 2 Syracuse University.
3. (Tie) Football (2-2, 0-0 Patriot)
After losing two one-possession games to start the season, including a 26-21 loss to FCS nationally-ranked Villanova University on the road, the Lehigh football team has bounced back with two impressive victories over reigning Ivy League champ UPenn and Princeton University. Led by senior quarterback Nick Shafnisky, the team has combined for 91 points in its last two games. Shafnisky picked up two Patriot League Offensive Player of the Week awards after totaling 11 touchdowns in the past three weeks. If the Mountain Hawks had avoided some offensive struggles in the first two weeks, they may be sitting at 4-0 right now.
3. (Tie) Volleyball (7-9, 3-0 Patriot)
Like the football team, the Lehigh volleyball team got off to a sluggish start, losing nine of its first 13 non-conference matches. However, the Mountain Hawks did compete against quality competition such as University of Alabama, Western Kentucky University, Villanova and University of Pittsburgh during that stretch. To begin Patriot League play, the team has jumped out to a 3-0 start, including a sweep over rival Lafayette. Ultimately, Patriot League performance decides the legacy of a season, and the volleyball squad is off to an impressive start.
5. Women’s cross country
The women’s cross country team has finished in third place or higher in its first three events, including third out of 11 teams in the Ted Owen Invitational. But though the Mountain Hawks have had some early success, they have done so against sub-par competition. They finished second out of five teams in the Lehigh Invitational, but the three teams that finished behind them were non-Division I opponents. Sophomore Maura Henderson has been a bright spot as she picked up her first title win in the Ted Owen Invitational in just her second career race in brown and white.
6. Men’s soccer (3-5-1, 0-1-0 Patriot)
The Lehigh men’s soccer team has had an up-and-down season. The Patriot League defending champs have sandwiched multiple losses between each of their three victories this season. One of their losses, a 3-1 defeat to open up Patriot League play against Holy Cross, was a particularly tough one. Holy Cross was ranked eighth in the preseason Patriot League polls while the Mountain Hawks were selected to finish fourth.
7. Field hockey (1-8, 0-2 Patriot)
After a win to start the season, the Lehigh field hockey team has dropped eight consecutive games. The team has been outscored 27-6 while being shut out three times this season. The Mountain Hawks will look to turn around their season and a 0-2 Patriot League entering October.