The Eagles notch their second win of the season over Lehigh

Two quick goals and outstanding goalie play lead AU over the Mountain Hawks

The Eagles notch their second win of the season over Lehigh
#10 Jerry Zouantcha battles against a Lehigh defender.

After a rough start to the season, the American University Eagles (2-3-1) got a well-earned 2-0 shut-out victory over the Lehigh Mountain Hawks (0-7-1) for their second win of the season. 

The game got off to a slow, but physical start — neither team could score in the first half despite good looks at the goals for both sides. The Mountain Hawks came out hard on their attacks, and got their first of three yellow cards in the 11th minute, the second in the 21st minute and the third in the 70th minute. 

The Mountain Hawks became irate with the first yellow card, and the second card was not for a foul, but for dissent from Lehigh’s Euan Forrest. Lehigh’s vocal displeasure with the officiating was intense, and the referee warned the Mountain Hawks bench and coach to calm down.

After a momentary push from the Mountain Hawks to start the second half, the Eagles took control and came away with two back-to-back goals. 

The first goal for the Eagles was a penalty kick by sophomore forward Robbie Matei, his first collegiate goal, in the 59th minute after a penalty on graduate captain Jerry Zouantcha. The second goal came only 21 seconds later; after the Eagles almost immediately regained possession and pressed forward with another attack. 

Senior forward David Coly passed the ball into the left of the penalty box for Zouantcha, who, after expertly battling two Lehigh defenders, struck the ball past the keeper into the right corner of the net.

However, the highlight of the match was the tremendous play from the Eagles defense and a brand new face in the goal: freshman goalkeeper Dominic Dominguez. Dominguez made his first collegiate appearance and did not allow a single goal for the first shut-out of the season

Dominguez made four saves in the match — three in the second half alone — and his effort won him the GEICO Student-Athlete of the Week and Patriot League Rookie of the Week.

“For me, there’s been a couple things we were seeing in recent games, so we felt it was time to give Dom a shot,” head coach Zach Samol said. “When you make those decisions, you don’t know if you get them right all the time. … Dom played well; he came out and did his job today.”

The Eagles had not won a match since the opening game against Old Dominion University, and the win put some wind back in the team’s sails, Zouantcha said.

“I mean, you could see it today,” Zouantcha said. “After the goal and Dom making great saves, it put confidence in the team, energy into the team, and from there we fed off that and were able to get another one really quickly. It’s hard to play when you’re in a slump like that, but when you have guys that have energy and believe in the system, you just have to trust that it’ll come, and if it doesn’t, you just have to work harder to make it happen.”

After another win at George Mason University on Tuesday night, the Eagles will look to nab their fourth win of the season on Saturday at Bucknell at noon E.T.

lclarke@theeagleonline.com

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