Lehigh men’s soccer got a rivalry win on Oct. 16 when they defeated Lafayette 2-0 during a rainy night at Ulrich Sports Complex.
Despite the heavy rain throughout parts of the game, play continued as there was no lightning in the air.
Lafayette came into the match holding first place in the Patriot League, coming into the game undefeated at 4-0 in league action.
Lehigh has endured a difficult season, losing by one goal in six of their nine losses, holding a 2-4 league record.
This crucial Mountain Hawk win keeps them alive for the Patriot League tournament. Lehigh came into the game in ninth place, and only eight teams qualify for the championship tournament. After the game Lehigh, moves into eighth place, overtaking Boston University.
“We have done well all season competing against the better teams,” said coach Dean Koski. “Even in non-league games, I think we have competed well. I think tonight was a good indication that we still have some fight left in us. We are going to build on this because it’s an important three points for us.
The intense rivalry game was a physical contest with limited opportunities.
In the first half, Lehigh outshot Lafayette 7-3 but failed to put one in the back of the net.
A consistent stream of rain played a major factor in the first half. Both teams were hard-pressed to find their footing on shot attempts because of the slippery terrain.
In the 60th minute, Lehigh broke through. Junior Jack Sarkos headed one into the back of the net, scoring on a pass from Koski to give Lehigh a 1-0 lead.
After the goal, Lafayette began pushing forward at a higher rate and attacking Lehigh’s defense, knowing that they were up against the clock
“They are really good on restarts, dead balls and getting the ball in the box,” Koski said. “I thought we were really good at defending those moments today. I thought we were gritty and good in the box.”
Lehigh was able to use Lafayette’s aggressiveness against them and create counterattacks with favorable numbers.
In the 87th minute, Lehigh was able to score on a counterattack and ensure their win when freshman Yoni Aidlberg fired a shot in the bottom left corner to score his first goal of the season.
The Mountain Hawks have four Patriot League contests remaining after today and hope to secure their spot in the championship tournament through those games.
Lehigh will return to action against Princeton at Ulrich Sports Complex on Oct. 19, at 7:30 pm.