Despite 15 missed opportunities throughout the game and the team’s failure to work together during the first half, Lehigh women’s soccer managed to pull off a 2-0 victory over Patriot League opponent Loyola University Saturday at Ulrich Sports Complex.
Lehigh coach Eric Lambinus said the Greyhounds were able to effectively put pressure on the Mountain Hawks, who weren’t able to execute the way they wanted to until the second half progressed.
Sophomore forward and midfielder Maggie Wadsworth said the conclusion of the first half left the team feeling disappointed, but that halftime played a key role in Lehigh’s turnaround on the field.
“We just needed to reset,” Wadsworth said, “so I think halftime, that was a good opportunity.”
She said the team’s seniors took advantage of halftime to pump the team up, motivating the players to work harder for a win that paired with a win next Saturday would secure a home game slot going in the Patriot League Tournament.
During the second half, the team found its rhythm and started playing as a unit and connecting with cleaner passes.
“Whenever we play together, that’s when we’re at our best,” freshman midfielder Lisa Kestelboym said. “I have full confidence in our team to get to that point every game.”
Working as a team is what ultimately allowed the Mountain Hawks to turn opportunities into the two goals they scored to conclude the match with a victory.
With 20 minutes left on the clock, Kestelboym sent the ball into the net to break a scoreless tie and put Lehigh up 1-0. She was assisted by junior midfielder Sabrina Mertz, who deflected the ball to Wadsworth who then passed to Kestelboym for the goal. This was Kestelboym’s second goal of her Lehigh career.
The Mountain Hawks went on to score another goal with just under two minutes left in the game, this time from Wadsworth with an assist from sophomore midfielder Annika Jansa.
Wadsworth said the team usually delivers a better second half, but it needs to focus on playing a complete game.
Lehigh sophomore goalie Sam Miller had five saves on the night, shutting out the Greyhounds.
“I think, especially with soccer, the game goes in waves,” Miller said. “It’s very hard to play really, really well for 90 minutes. During those nights when we’re not really connecting offensively, we need to be more locked-in defensively, and I think we did a good job to not give up a goal when we were struggling today.”
Lambinus said the team counts on Miller to save all shots on goal, and she is constantly impressing the team with her positioning and her solid plays in the goal.
“She continues to amaze us with the way she plays,” Lambinus said. “She’s special and we’re really happy to have her.”
Kestelboym said the team played the second half for its seniors and secured a “well-deserved” win.
The Mountain Hawks move on to battle Patriot League opponent Holy Cross next Saturday. Kestelboym said the team plans to leave it all on the field during its final game of the regular season before heading into playoffs.