In a battle between the Lehigh women’s soccer team and Navy on Wednesday, the Mountain Hawks fell short in a 3-0 loss.
Navy has the reputation of being one of the toughest teams in the Patriot League, and Lehigh knew it was going to be a challenging game going into it. The Mountain Hawks’ season started out with seven wins and one tie with no goals scored against them. They had only one other loss so far this season, which was against Colgate.
Both teams played stout defense at the start of the game, as there were no goals scored until the first half was almost over. With only 2:46 left to play in the first half, goalkeeper Sam Miller committed a foul that resulted in a penalty kick. Navy’s Rachel Feldman whizzed the ball into the back of the net to put the Midshipmen on the board 1-0.
Junior captain Alyssa Riporti knew she had to get her team’s mindset right after the disappointing penalty kick goal.
“After the penalty kick, the best way to keep the team in the game was to help them gain composure and just communicate more so that we could try to execute more effectively,” Riporti said.
The Mountain Hawks held it together for the rest of the half as neither team scored another goal.
The second half allowed for a few more opportunities for Lehigh. However, Feldman scored her second goal of the game for Navy with 20 minutes left to play in the second half. And with 5:06 left in the match, Ash Fairow scored her first goal of the season for the Midshipmen, which put them up 3-0, essentially wrapping up the game.
While Navy ended the game with seven shots on goal, its defense kept Lehigh’s offense just three. Clare Severe, a sophomore for the Mountain Hawks, believed the team had the ability to score but did not work together to make that happen.
“Tonight we didn’t play together, and it showed in the results and the stats,” Severe said. “I think we definitely have the capability to score we just need to work as a team. Going forward we need to be more cohesive.”
Riporti agreed with Severe about what needed to be fixed.
“We are looking to improve our cohesiveness as a group — connecting our lines and preventing gaps defensively so that we can be strong in our counter attacks,” Riporti said.
Riporti said the underclassmen have had an impactful role on the team so far, but explained that to succeed in the Patriot League, the team needs more than just skill.
“I think we learned that it is unacceptable to get outworked,” Riporti said.
The Mountain Hawks will be back again at Ulrich Sports Complex on Oct. 1 against Army. Both Riporti and Severe said the team is looking forward to the rest of the season and believe it can learn and grow from the loss to prepare for Army.