Following an inconsistent start to its season, the Lehigh women’s soccer team has seen recent success in the Patriot League after defeating Bucknell, Boston University and Holy Cross.
The Mountain Hawks continued its Patriot League campaign against Bucknell on Oct. 4, where the team was able to secure its first league victory of the season. At the time, Bucknell was ranked third in the league, while Lehigh found itself at the bottom of the standings.
Neither team threatened for the majority of the match, but the Bisons found the breakthrough in the 60th minute. Lehigh did not let the deficit affect its mentality, and the team responded with three goals in 12 minutes, handing the Mountain Hawks the victory.
“It was good knowing that once we were behind we didn’t just shut down,” junior goalkeeper Miranda Royds said. “I think we have to continue that mindset, especially going into the rest of our Patriot League games.”
Defeating Bucknell gave the team a new sense of confidence, but Lehigh still has its challenges.
The Mountain Hawks dropped points the following week in a tightly-contested 1-0 loss against Navy, but proved its resilience against Boston University.
Lehigh went into the game looking for revenge against the team that denied the Mountain Hawks its second-ever Patriot League championship at the end of last season.
Senior defender and midfielder Mary Casey found the game’s only goal in the 40th minute, giving Lehigh its first-ever win against Boston University in program history.
Several team members, including sophomore defender and midfielder Erin Keefe, credited the team’s recent successes to a new, more positive, mindset.
“I think most of us expect to lose against the bigger teams, but now that we know we’re good enough I think it changes a lot,” Keefe said.
Associate coach Lauren Calabrese agreed that the team’s mentality has been key to its successes this season.
“In terms of resiliency for our group it can be hard to endure some losses, and I think from each respective game that we’ve played we’ve learned something from it,” Calabrese said. “It’s not getting caught up in the short term, but understanding that the season is a long-term progression.”
The women saw another dip in form during the team’s 4-0 loss to Princeton on Tuesday, but, again, the players came out strong in the following game this past Saturday against Holy Cross.
It was senior day for the Mountain Hawks against the Crusaders, and it was senior forward and midfielder Maggie Wadsworth who gave Lehigh its third consecutive win at home in the team’s 1-0 victory.
Regardless of wins and losses, Calabrese said success does not always come instantly. It takes time for the players to understand how to work together before the positive results come.
“One of the challenges of being a collegiate soccer team is that every season you get a new group of women, so I would say that for the majority of the season we’re figuring out chemistry (and) our style of play,” Calabrese said.
Overall, she has been impressed with the teams’ ability to communicate with each other and feels it’s crucial in their ability to succeed in the future.
And, despite only having five wins this season, the team is now third in the Patriot League and is continuing to learn and grow as a group.
“As a group we all have different skills and talents, so it’s learning how to express your individual talent within the team framework,” Calabrese said. “Learning how to communicate that in terms of what you need individually really helps the group.”
Lehigh faces Colgate on Wednesday, Oct. 23, at 7 p.m.