BETHLEHEM, Pa. - For the third straight season, Lehigh and Monmouth played a competitive game which ended in a tie, this time playing to a scoreless draw in the season opener for both teams on Friday evening at the Ulrich Sports Complex. The Mountain Hawks held a 14-8 edge in shots and sophomore goalkeeper Sam Miller made four stops, including a big one late in regulation, to help preserve her 13th-career shutout.
Friday’s game, which was delayed by one hour due to thunderstorms in the area, saw Lehigh allow just eight shots and zero goals against defending MAAC Champion Monmouth, who averaged 17.7 shots and 2.86 goals a season ago. The Mountain Hawks allowed just two first-half shots and only one shot on goal over the first 66 minutes.
Friday marked the second consecutive scoreless draw between Lehigh and Monmouth. Last season, Monmouth held a dominant 28-4 edge in shots. This year was much different.
“I thought we were able to do a lot of the things we worked on in the spring and preseason and gave our girls a little bit of confidence moving forward because that’s a good team,” said Lehigh head coach Eric Lambinus. “We definitely pride ourselves on the way we play defense. It’s not just our back line or our goalie. Everybody on the field works. I thought our forwards did a really good job of tracking back and winning balls.”
Sophomore Maggie Wadsworth fired the game’s first shot in the ninth minute off a feed from junior Sabrina Mertz, but the chance sailed wide. Monmouth recorded the game’s first shot on goal in the 14th minute, but Miller aggressively made the stop. Lehigh quickly responded with the next two shots on goal, coming off the foots of sophomores Annika Jansa and Wadsworth in the 15th and 19th minutes, respectively.
There were only four shots the rest of the half, but one nearly gave Lehigh a 1-0 advantage as freshman Ally Friedman’s shot looked to be going in, but Monmouth defender Jackie Louro made the save.
Lehigh recorded five of the first six second-half shots, including a dazzling opportunity from Mertz in the 64th minute. Off a feed from Friedman, Mertz’s shot near the top of the box sailed just high.
Monmouth responded with five of the final six second-half shots, but Miller came up big with three saves, including one in the 88th minute when she punched a shot that looked ticketed for under the crossbar out of harm’s way.
Lehigh tallied the game’s only two shots over the two overtime periods, but it wasn’t enough as the season opener ended in a scoreless draw for a second straight season.
Final shots were 14-8 in favor of the Mountain Hawks while Monmouth held a 4-2 edge in corner kicks. Miller made four saves across Monmouth’s Amanda Knaub, who tallied five.
“Defensively, we worked really well,” said Lambinus. “Everybody was committed. We just have to put one of those chances away.
Lehigh will now return to action next weekend when it heads to Penn on Friday, Aug. 25 (8 p.m.) and Temple on Sunday (6 p.m.).
Like Lehigh Women's Soccer on Facebook, follow on Twitter and Instagram for continued updates on the Mountain Hawks.