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w soccer v lehigh 10/15

Women’s soccer suffers tough loss against Lehigh on Senior Day

Eagles lose by 3 in what head coach Marsha Harper says was “not our best soccer”

The American University women’s soccer team (3-8-4) had their high spirits for Senior Day crushed after a 4-1 loss to the Lehigh University Mountain Hawks (7-4-4) on Oct. 15. 

The Eagles fought to earn one back with a late goal from freshman striker Lailah Stewart, but it was not enough to compensate for the four goals they conceded. 

From kickoff at Reeves Field, it seemed the Eagles had a tough game ahead of them. Lehigh pressured the Eagles early and dominated possession with quick passes and movement of the ball. The Mountain Hawks earned four corner kicks and one shot on goal within the first seven minutes of the game. 

Lehigh capitalized quickly in the 17th minute with a long-range goal from outside the box by sophomore forward Sophia Lis. Within five minutes, they followed up with their second. Senior forward Ava Schaller easily tapped the ball into the bottom left corner after an uncontested bounce on a corner kick. 

“We can’t start like that again,” senior forward and captain Izzy Kadzban said. “We need to show up as the best versions of ourselves.” 

Despite conceding two early goals, the Eagles responded with more energy and aggression throughout the rest of the first half. The game was certainly a close contest with American pushing to get on the scoresheet.

Still, American struggled to maintain possession of the ball, especially in the midfield and the final third. The Mountain Hawks’ strong press forced the Eagles to play quickly, and they resorted to playing direct aerial balls from the backline which the organized Lehigh defense shut down. 

“We’re hoping to do a better job of connecting the ball and getting stuck into tackles,” said senior forward Abby Dillon.

Dillon nearly earned a goal back for the Eagles late in the first half with a powerful long-range shot at the edge of the box. Instead, she hit the crossbar, sending American into halftime facing a two-goal deficit. 

The Mountain Hawks continued to dominate throughout the second half, with many of the same tactics. Still, the last ten minutes of the game created a frenzy of goals. Lehigh netted their third in the 80th minute with freshman Mia Tuckwood’s header off a free kick, seemingly securing their win. But just a minute later, Stewart pulled one back for the Eagles on an assist from Kadzban. 

The Mountain Hawks finally sealed the deal with a fourth from junior Faith Dobosiewicz in the 85th minute, leading to a crushing defeat for the Eagles.

“I think everyone in our program felt like we could have given a little bit more,” head coach Marsha Harper said. “We have to be aware of our performances and where our standard is … we can’t play like that.” 

Harper shouted out junior goalkeeper Julia Kato, whose six crucial saves limited the goal deficit to just three. 

With the loss, the Eagles fall to sixth place in the Patriot League, putting themselves in the last playoff spot. Harper says the team needs to “recalibrate in all ways, both physically and mentally,” before their last two regular season games. 

The Eagles’ next matchup is their final regular season home game against the Loyola Maryland Greyhounds on Oct. 25.

This article was edited by Penelope Jennings, Delaney Hoke and Abigail Pritchard. Copy editing done by Isabelle Kravis and Olivia Citarella.

Section 202 host Gabrielle and friends go over some sports that aren’t in the sports media spotlight often, and review some sports based on their difficulty to play. 

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