Leopards fall to rival Lehigh and Hofstra

The+Lafayette+mens+soccer+team+fails+to+score+a+goal+in+back-to-back+games+against+rival+Lehigh+and+Hofstra+last+week.+%28Photo+courtesy+of+GoLeopards.com%29

The Lafayette men’s soccer team fails to score a goal in back-to-back games against rival Lehigh and Hofstra last week. (Photo courtesy of GoLeopards.com)

Nicky Nathanson, Staff Writer

In their most recent outings, the Lafayette men’s soccer team lost a pair of games, falling 2-0 to Lehigh on Saturday, Oct. 16, and 4-0 to Hofstra on Tuesday, Oct. 19. Lafayette now sits at 7-6-2 on the season and 3-2-1 in Patriot League play.

Scoring chances were plentiful for both sides early in the match against rival Lehigh. In the seventh minute, junior forward Hale Lombard had a header opportunity that was thwarted by Lehigh’s goalkeeper. The game remained scoreless throughout the first half despite Lehigh’s opportunities in the last minutes. Leopard freshman goalkeeper Griffin Huff, who appeared in his second collegiate game, saved all three shots in the first half.

After failing to cash in multiple opportunities, the Mountain Hawks came out poised to break the game open. Lehigh took the lead around the 60th minute with the first goal of the game.

The Leopards’ attack brought pressure and appeared determined to even it up, but were hampered by Mountain Hawk goalkeeper Blake Goski who made save after save. The Leopards poured on shots in the second half, outshooting the Mountain Hawks 13-5 and outshooting Lehigh 26-13 in the game.

With the Leopards unable to capitalize, the Mountain Hawks added on another goal in the 87th minute. Lafayette failed to find the back of the net as the final whistle blew.

“In every season there are highs and lows, but the great teams are able to manage both,” senior goalkeeper Alex Sutton said. “Keeping calm and focusing on the next game is how we accomplish that.”

Junior midfielder Benji Grossi led the Leopards with three shots on goal, while Lombard followed one behind.

In their next contest against Hofstra, the Leopards found themselves on their heels early. Within the first 10 minutes, Hofstra had already tallied four shots, with one on goal. The Pride controlled  possession throughout the first half and  scored at the 32nd minute mark on a penalty kick. Five minutes later, Hofstra scored again.

Hofstra dominated the first half as the Leopards were only able to tally two shots compared to Hofstra’s 11.

In the second half, both teams traded shots early. Around the 67th minute, Hofstra added on to its lead with a third goal. Ten minutes later Hofstra made it 4-0, sealing the win.

The Leopards had a shot in the 88th minute to get on the board, but freshman defender Eion Martin’s shot was saved.

Lafayette ended the game with five shots, two of which were on goal, while Hofstra ended with 16 and eight of those on goal.

After scoring in every game for nearly a month, the Leopards have been shut out in back to back games.

“As a team, we need to get back to the defensive performance we’ve been accustomed to for most of this season and past couple seasons,” Sutton said. “It’s a priority and a point of a pride for us, we need to focus more and execute better.”

The Leopards will look to put these two behind them as they host American University Saturday, Oct. 23 at 7 p.m. for their Senior Night.

“No better game than American to come out buzzing offensively and lockdown defensively, as they beat us in the final last spring,” Sutton said.