Junior forward Kayla Arestivo prepares to kick the ball during a game against Bucknell University on Wednesday, October 17, 2018 at the Ulrich Sports Complex. The women's soccer team lost 0-1 to their Patriot League rival. (Adele Hancock/B&W Staff)

Women’s soccer loses regular season home finale 1-0 to Bucknell

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The Lehigh women’s soccer team suffered a 1-0 loss against Patriot League rival Bucknell on Oct. 17 at the Ulrich Sports Complex, which marks the team’s last home game of the season.

Coming off a huge 4-0 victory against Lafayette on Oct. 13, the Mountain Hawks were eager to carry their momentum into their seventh Patriot League game of the season. Despite creating 17 scoring opportunities on the offensive end over Bucknell’s 11, the team was unable to capitalize and failed to put the ball in the back of the net against the Bison.

The Mountain Hawks controlled the tempo in the first half of the match, maintaining possession and outshooting the Bison 10-3. In the 19th minute, senior Maggie Wadsworth was fed the ball and made it past the Bucknell goalkeeper, but a defender swooped in and cleared it before Wadsworth could get the shot off.

The second half proved to be a different story as the Bison came out and placed the ball in the top right corner of Lehigh’s net in the first 40 seconds.

Those 40 seconds set the tone for the rest of the game.

Despite dwindling intensity, Lehigh managed to get some of the first-half momenta back toward the end of the game. Senior Sabrina Mertz fired two shots on goal in the 64th minute and 71st minute, with passes from junior Kayla Arestivo. Junior goalkeeper Sam Miller held her own on the other end, leaving the end-line aggressively in the 87th minute to prevent a larger deficit.

Head coach Eric Lambinus said that while Lehigh’s inability to convert on scoring opportunities led to Bucknell’s ultimate victory, the team’s downfall cannot be attributed to a lack of talent, but rather a lack of intensity.

“Our mentality going into the second half was to see if we could drive at them a little bit more,” Lambinus said. “We came out flat, plain and simple.”

As the Patriot League Tournament approaches, the team is focused on building a stronger mentality and maintaining a high level of energy — especially in the face of adversity. The Mountain Hawks remains in a tie for sixth place in the Patriot League standings, with two regular season matches remaining.

The team hopes to emulate its intensity against rival Lafayette in the remaining games on its schedule. 

“We need to bring more energy moving forward, especially if we’re going to perform well in the tournament,” Mertz said. “We brought so much energy against Lafayette and I think we let it slack a little. It’s important to focus on building a stronger mentality going forward.”

Lambinus believes the solution to the team’s scoring difficulties is simple: mental toughness.

“It’s just the mentality,” Lambinus said. “We created the chances, we put the ball in good positions but it’s just the mentality in the final third of putting the ball into the back of the net instead of just being hopeful. Our intentions have to be better.”

The Mountain Hawks will be back in action at Loyola on Saturday, Oct. 20. The Greyhounds, who are 5-9 on the season, lost to Bucknell on the road 1-0 on Sept. 26.

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