Soccer runs in Corinne Lyght’s blood. The sophomore women’s soccer player continued her mother’s legacy, starting the game at 4 years old and taking it to the collegiate level.
Lyght led both the Mountain Hawks and the Patriot League in goals this season, earning her Patriot League Offensive Player of the Year honors.
Lyght is Lehigh’s first offensive player of the year since 2005. Her nomination, which was announced on Oct. 28, recognizes her team-leading six regular season goals.
“I remember our coach, she told us, and it kind of just gave you goosebumps,” senior midfielder Ryelle Shuey said. “I honestly couldn’t think of anyone more deserving, (Lyght is) just a great player and what makes it better is that she’s just a great person. We were all just kind of shocked and ecstatic for her.”
Lyght said she was both excited and proud of her nomination for the award, before turning the attention back to her teammates. She said the team makes playing easy for her and this award is more of an acknowledgement of her team’s collective successes.
“We’ve just taken it to another level, which is really telling that you just have to believe everything will work out and it will,” Lyght said.
Lyght’s success this season has come in the face of many abnormalities on the soccer team. Operating with limited staff, new coaches Lauren Calabrese, ‘07, and assistant coach Gina Lewandowski, ‘07, began their first Patriot League coaching seasons this fall.
Lyght said she’s learned to trust the process. Although adversity may arise in a specific game or practice, she said noticing and identifying progress in the team as a whole is most important.
Lewandowski said Lyght’s style and ability to lead the team are two aspects of her character that make Lyght stand out.
“She was able to really contribute and lead the team with her performance,” Lewandowski said. “We’re really grateful to have her here.”
Lyght said her focus this season was on building confidence and believing in herself, as well as shooting principles and maintaining team chemistry. In order to execute these, she said she prioritized reps, practicing like she would play in a game and continuing to challenge herself.
“Just from her freshman to sophomore year, I’ve seen her grow in terms of confidence, taking people on and having faith in herself,” Shuey said. “We all back her up and know she’s a great player, and I’ve seen that confidence come out of her this year.”
Lyght, who started all 18 games this season, said her most memorable moments this season were the team’s match ups against Navy. Lehigh’s first game on Oct. 7 ended in a 2-0 victory, the team’s first victory over Navy in 10 years. Lehigh claimed a second victory over Navy on Oct. 30 in a home game that ended in a 4-0 win.
Shuey said this victory put Lehigh in the forefront of the Patriot League, allowing them to be in a good position for playoffs.
“That was just an amazing team effort and such an exciting day,” Lyght said. “To do the same thing on (Oct. 30th) and to win 4-0, which was the largest score that we’ve beaten them with in thirty years, was really amazing. It was so special to celebrate that with everyone.”
Lyght contributed goals in both of these games.
“She’s honestly a game changer,” Shuey said. “She gets the big goals when we need them, but she also treks back on defense. She’s very selfless in how she plays, and, at the end of the day, she wants the team to be successful.”
Lewandowski said the team and the coaching staff are all proud of Lyght and are excited about the recognition she’s received.
She said, despite Lyght being an underclassman, she has an impressive skillset and she’s excited to see her grow.