The Lehigh men’s soccer team fell to Drexel 1-0 in the final minute of play on Oct. 25.
The Mountain Hawks came into the match hoping to keep their Patriot League tournament hopes alive. However, both defenses in the first half kept the offenses in check.
The Lehigh offense struggled to find opportunities to get shots on goal. At the end of the first half, the score remained locked at 0.
Freshman defenseman Sam Davis said a lot of the defense’s success came from the mindset the team had coming into the matchup.
“I’d say it’s all mentality, that’s what it comes down to,” Davis said. “As a back four, as a defensive unit, it comes down to having the mentality of ‘you’re not going to get past me, and I’m going to get past you.’”
Seventeen different Lehigh players saw playing time in the first half. Coach Dean Koski said he went deep into his bench to keep players from getting too fatigued.
“We talked about making sure we rested some guys, we didn’t really want to play everybody for 90 minutes,” Koski said. “That was our goal, to try to manage the minutes of our starters to play 60 minutes or less just so that they have legs for the weekend.”
The Mountain Hawks will play Boston University on the road on Saturday.
Sophomore goalie Ryan Gross returned to the lineup for the first time since the team’s Oct. 1 contest against Holy Cross, and was one of only three Lehigh players to stay on the field for the full 90 minutes.
Gross recorded a career high nine saves, a number of which were clean looks at the goal for Drexel.
Gross said his confidence in the net has improved throughout the season.
“In the beginning half of the year, I was pretty hurt physically,” Gross said. “I took that time to take care of my body and see our trainer a lot, which helped. I was able to finally get out on the field, and just be at 100% physically, which allowed me to be very confident and completely there mentally.”
During the second half of play, neither team was able to gain an advantage, and with less than a minute to go, both teams were still scoreless.
With 38 seconds left in the game, Drexel forward Dominick Bachstein received a cross over the middle and fired a shot towards the left corner of the goal, slipping past Gross’ outstretched arms for a score.
With practically no time left on the clock, the Mountain Hawks’ last ditch effort proved unsuccessful.
Koski said his team didn’t look to be on the same page in the last minute of play.
“We had some guys out there that hadn’t played a lot of minutes,” Koski said. “When you’re mixing things up a lot, you’re going to have some miscommunication.”
Lehigh, currently in eighth place in the Patriot League standings, is only one point out of the sixth and final spot in the postseason tournament. With just two regular season games left on the schedule, the Mountain Hawks will host Colgate for the season finale on Nov. 2 after Saturday’s showdown with Boston University.
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