Men’s soccer shuts out Lehigh in season-opener
Freshman Jason Bouregy and senior Nick Dimitrijevic each score for the Eagles
The Eagles (1-0) soundly defeated the reigning Patriot League champion Mountain Hawks (0-1) 2-0 in their first game in over a year, scoring in both halves of the contest while their defense held off a flurry of Lehigh shots.
“When you’re going into this game after such a long time, it’s over a year since our last game, you really don’t know what to expect, and I really didn’t,” head coach Zach Samol said. “What I will say is that I am just happy with the resilience and the fight and just the desire to do what it takes to get a result today.”
Contributions from the underclassmen helped propel American University to an early lead. The first goal of the season came from freshman midfielder Jason Bouregy, who scored 21 minutes into the match. Along with the score, he had two other shots on goal, which was a major contribution.
“Jason’s a good player and he’s still young,” Samol said. “He’s going to make some young mistakes, but he’s a good player, a good attacking player, he’s relentless in the attack, and to be honest with you, I’m not surprised he scored today.”
Senior forward Nick Dimitrijevic, AU’s leading scorer from last season, netted the team’s second goal at the 72-minute mark in the second period, with freshman midfielder/forward Robbie Matei assisting on the shot. Matei came away with the ball after a battle for possession outside the penalty box, drawing the goalie away from the net by driving from the left side, which allowed Dimitrijevic to get open in front of the goal. This allowed Matei to make the quick pass to him for the easy goal.
Lehigh had 11 shots to AU’s 10, which included seven in just the first half. Despite this, Lehigh only had one shot on goal, a low mark compared to the Eagles, who had four. The Mountain Hawks’ high frequency of shots came in part due to their ability to regain possession of the ball, especially within their own half.
Samol said that AU still has areas it will need to improve moving forward.
“I think our ability to just link and keep the ball [needs to improve], and we need to keep the ball in the other team’s half most importantly,” Samol said. “So I just think I’m looking for a little bit more composure from the guys, a little bit more calmness, just a little bit more quality when we have the ball. I think if we would have done that today, we would have defended less.”
The Eagles will look to build on this win and go up 2-0 at home next Saturday at 2:30 p.m. against the Navy Midshipmen.