While the Lehigh-Lafayette football game is still a week away, the Lehigh men’s soccer team kicked-off Le-Laf week in the best possible fashion—with a victory against the Leopards.
The Mountain Hawks, who finished with an overall record of 13-4-3 and a Patriot League record of 6-0-3, brushed aside all memories of its loss to Colgate in last season’s Patriot League tournament semi-final to put in a solid performance against Lafayette in front of over 1,700 fans.
The first half provided plenty of action, with the likes of junior Stevo Bednarsky, freshman Natan Rosen and sophomore Josh Luchini, Patriot League Offensive Player of the Year, all seeing their shots saved by Lafayette goalkeeper Alex Sutton.
Mountain Hawk senior goalkeeper Will Smith was also kept busy in the first half, after making three key saves to maintain Lehigh’s clean sheet.
After halftime, Lehigh came out with the same intensity that the first half had ended with, and it only took nine minutes for sophomore forward and midfielder Michael Tahiru to find the back of the net.
Following a slick pass across the goal from junior midfielder Trevor Koski—his fifth assist of the season—Tahiru was able to tap the ball into the back of the net for his third goal of the season.
Smith again proved to be a crucial defensive element to the Mountain Hawk effort, after making four more important saves to preserve Lehigh’s narrow advantage and reaching a career-high 10th shutout of the season.
The crowd—unofficially the largest men’s soccer crowd in program history—did its part during the game, and Lehigh fans stormed the field after the final whistle confirmed Lehigh’s first Patriot League Championship title since 2015.
The Mountain Hawks look to the 2019 NCAA Division I tournament next, and the team will find out who it faces in first round on Nov. 21, following the draw on Nov. 18.