Junior outside hitter Sabrina Lancaster received an honorable mention for the Patriot League Volleyball Player of the Week award. Lancaster is one of three Lehigh athletes to receive a Patriot League Honorable Mention this week. (Courtesy of Lehigh Sports)

Lehigh athletes receive Patriot League honorable mentions

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With fall sports seasons entering October, several Lehigh athletes have established themselves as strong contributors in the Patriot League. 

Freshman midfielder Natan Rosen and sophomore midfielder Michael Tahiru received Honorable Mentions for the Patriot League Men’s Soccer Player of the Week award, while junior outside hitter Sabrina Lancaster received an Honorable Mention for the Patriot League Volleyball Player of the Week award. 

Both Rosen and Tahiru recorded their first career goals against American on Saturday, leading the Mountain Hawks to a 2-1 victory in their first Patriot League conference game of the season. 

Tahiru kicked things off in the 16th minute, driving a cross from junior midfielder Trevor Koski home and capitalizing on Lehigh’s first chance to score. Despite three total shots in the first 45 minutes, Tahiru was the only Mountain Hawk to find the back of the net. 

After starting in 13 of 16 games during his freshman campaign and leading the midfielders in shots taken (20), Tahiru said coming out and finally capturing his first career goal made moments of adversity worthwhile. 

“It felt good, especially coming off from a long injury last season,” Tahiru said. “So just coming back and scoring felt really good.”

Rosen followed Tahiru’s lead just four minutes into the second half, drilling a pass into the box from Koski for his first career goal in front of his Bethesda, Maryland, hometown crowd. Rosen’s goal extended Lehigh’s lead to 2-0 in the 55th minute. While American managed to respond in the 75th minute, marking its second goal of the season, Lehigh held on for a 2-1 victory. 

Rosen said scoring his first career goal felt like he was seeing his hard work and commitment come to fruition, and that doing so in front of his family and friends made it an especially memorable achievement.

“It was just awesome,” Rosen said. “I felt like I had been working toward that and playing better and better every game. And then to be playing in front of my family and a couple of my friends, it was just an awesome feeling to get my first goal in that setting.” 

Tahiru had four shots, three of which were on goal, and Rosen added three. The young players’ performances helped the team bounce back from its crushing overtime loss (2-1) to Binghamton on Sept. 17. 

After securing its second consecutive win against Penn on Tuesday, Lehigh holds a 5-2 record. The Mountain Hawks will continue Patriot League play against Boston University on Saturday, Sept. 28, at Ulrich Sports Center. 

For the women’s volleyball team, Lancaster has proven herself as an integral component to the team’s early success this season. Lancaster finished the three-match week (Elon, Virginia and UNC Greensboro) with 37 kills, 24 digs, five block assists, two solo blocks and a .383 attack percentage. Four of Lancaster’s season-high stats came in the team’s most recent game against UNC Greensboro. 

Lancaster said the unprecedented stats she recorded against UNC Greensboro and the recognition that came with them were the result of her teammates’ support. 

“I owe it all to my teammates,” Lancaster said. “Volleyball is such a team-oriented sport that I definitely couldn’t have made the numbers I made without the defense behind me digging up every ball and my center with all the assists. So I think we really just hit a connection, hit a flow and had some fire during that game.” 

Lehigh is 7-7 overall, and will play in its first Patriot League game against rival Lafayette on Friday, Sept. 27, in Easton.

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