The third-seeded AU men’s soccer team started off its Patriot League tournament by surprising No. 2 Lehigh on Friday night, but fell in the championship game to No. 4 Bucknell at Colgate’s Doren Field in Hamilton, N.Y.
AU started its game against Lehigh with a scoreless first half. Lehigh had six shots to AU’s three.
Coming out with a strong attack in the second half, the Eagles were able to put the pressure on Lehigh, forcing them back on the defensive. Mike Worden received a pass from Alassane Kane from outside the box and launched a shot into the back of the net in the 47th minute, putting the Eagles up 1-0.
The Eagles were able to keep their momentum going by continuing to move the ball down the field, forcing Lehigh to play defense. With just three minutes left in the game, Kane secured the victory on a breakaway, receiving a pass from Worden and poking the ball past the keeper, sending the Eagles to the finals with a 2-0 victory.
Goalie Matt Makowski was stellar in net, saving six Lehigh shots on the way to victory.
“Everyone took care of their individual roles and we came away with a great victory,” Head Coach Todd West told AU Athletics.
In the championship game against Bucknell University, Makowski faced a stellar attack and lost his first challenge to Bucknell’s Ross Liberati, as he headed the ball past the AU goalie off a pass from Tommy McCabe.
Bucknell was able to keep the attack in AU’s defensive third, receiving corner after corner and forcing Makowski to keep making saves. Eight shots in the first half had Makowski moving all over the net.
Twenty-one minutes into the game, Liberati secured the win for Bucknell, again heading the ball past Makowski.
The Eagles continued to struggle to put the ball in the net for the remainder of the game, getting 14 shots towards the net. Worden managed a solid shot in the 59th minute off a Jamie Davin corner kick, but AU’s best chance came from Kane on a rocket saved by Bucknell’s Marc Hartman.
Managing to fend off five shots in the closing minutes, Hartman showed why he was selected as the tournament’s most valuable player after not allowing goals in either Patriot League tournament game.
The Eagles outshot Bucknell 14-12 but shots on goal advantage went to Bucknell 6-2. Bucknell will move on to the NCAA tournament.