BETHLEHEM, Pa. - Lehigh head women's soccer coach Eric Lambinus announced the Mountain Hawks' 2017 schedule on Friday, which includes 17 games (eight home and nine road), matchups against two reigning NCAA Tournament teams and the first-ever meeting against a perennial Big East power. The Mountain Hawks will look to build off last season's success, which saw them finish third in the Patriot League standings, their highest finish since 2010.
"Our 2017 schedule has a nice level in terms of quantity and quality competition while still being balancing the number of home and away games," said Lambinus. "The early games will definitely test our team with a number highly-competitive programs in our nonleague portion. This is very important as the quality and depth of the Patriot League has greatly improved over the course of the last five years. Looking at the teams and coaching staffs, the Patriot League has a nice mix of both experienced and upcoming staffs that will create one of the most competitive seasons since I've been at Lehigh. Our coaching staff is excited to see how our team handles this level of competition."
The Mountain Hawks open the season on Friday, Aug. 18 when they host defending MAAC Champion Monmouth at 6 p.m. Last season, the teams played to a scoreless draw while in 2015, the game ended in a 2-2 deadlock.
Lehigh returns to action the following weekend with a pair of games in Philadelphia, at Penn on Friday (Aug. 25) and Temple Sunday (Aug. 27), both night contests. Last season, Penn finished 9-3-4 while in the last meeting between the teams in 2015, Lehigh earned its first-ever victory against the Quakers.
The Mountain Hawks head to Towson on Thursday, Aug. 31 for their first meeting against the Tigers since 2004. Lehigh then travels to Delaware on Sunday, Sept. 3 to face the Blue Hens for the first time since 2006.
The Mountain Hawks host Villanova on Friday, Sept. 8, one year after picking up a 2-0 win over the Wildcats. Lehigh's final nonleague game before the Patriot League opener is Sunday, Sept. 10 at St. John's. It will mark the Mountain Hawks' first-ever meeting against the Red Storm of the Big East. Last season, St. John's finished 11-4-5 and advanced to the Big East Semifinals. Two years ago, the Red Storm advanced to the NCAA Tournament behind a 15-4-1 record.
Patriot League play begins on Saturday, Sept. 16 at Army West Point before Lehigh returns to nonleague action, playing at UMBC on Monday.
The Mountain Hawks return home for two straight in league play, hosting Boston University (Saturday, Sept. 23) and Colgate (Wednesday, Sept. 27). After a road trip at Navy (Saturday, Sept. 30), Lehigh hosts American (Saturday, Oct. 7) before traveling to rivals Lafayette (Saturday, Oct. 14) and defending Patriot League champion Bucknell (Wednesday, Oct. 18). Last season, Lehigh handed the Bison its first loss of the season, winning on the road, 3-2.
The regular season closes with two straight home games on consecutive Saturdays, hosting Loyola (Oct. 21) and Holy Cross (Oct. 28). The Patriot League Tournament begins on Tuesday, Oct. 31 with the quarterfinals. The Semifinals and championship game are set for the weekend of Nov. 3-5.
The Mountain Hawks finished a strong 2016 season with an 11-5-2 record, which included a school-record eight-game unbeaten streak to begin the season. Lehigh's seven-game winning streak also tied a school mark. The Mountain Hawks handed eventual league champion Bucknell its first loss of the season, a win that clinched Lehigh its first Patriot League Tournament berth since 2012. The team's No. 3 seed in the league tournament was its highest seeding since 2010.
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