BETHLEHEM, Pa. – The Lehigh women's soccer team bounced back from a tough first half to put forth a much stronger second half, but it wasn't enough as the Mountain Hawks fell to Delaware in their season opener, 2-0 on Friday evening at the Ulrich Sports Complex. After being outshot 10-2 in the first half, Lehigh outshot the Blue Hens 8-6 in the second, but couldn't put one past Delaware goalkeeper Kamryn Stabelin.
"You could tell that we're a team early in the season," said Lehigh head coach Eric Lambinus. "In the second half, we started to play a little bit better and get back to some of the things we've been trying to do. In the first half, we weren't good. It's on us (the coaches) to have the team more prepared for the type of team that we played against. I thought we struggled with their physicality. We didn't give up at the end. We're happy with that, but we have to learn how to put together a better 90-minute performance."
The Blue Hens began with the game's first five shots, but all were off target. Junior goalkeeper Miranda Royds made her first save of the season in the 32nd minute, but 7:01 later, Delaware opened the scoring as Alexis Montgomery scored at the 38:51 mark. Off a free kick, she redirected a shot into the back of the net to give her side a 1-0 advantage.
The second half saw Lehigh increase its pressure. Less than a minute in, senior Sidonie Warnecker appeared to have scored, but was whistled for off sides. The Mountain Hawks went on to tally their first shot on goal in the 58th minute, coming off the foot of sophomore Rebecca Van Siclen.
Royds made her third, and most impressive, save of the evening in the 68th minute, diving to her right to stop a Jill Vasallo shot and keep Lehigh's deficit at one.
Delaware added insurance in the 78th minute, also scored by Montgomery. Perhaps Lehigh's best sustained pressure came in the 83rd minute when freshman Chloe Sherman had three shots with the Delaware goalkeeper out aggressively, but each shot was blocked.
Final shots were 16-10 in favor of Delaware while the Blue Hens held a 2-1 edge in corner kicks. Royds finished with four saves while Stabelin made one.
The Mountain Hawks look to bounce back on Sunday when they return home to host Monmouth at 4:30 p.m. on the Patriot League Network.
"We need to take a little bit of the momentum from the second half tonight and carry it over into Sunday," said Lambinus. "Monmouth is going to battle; we've had great games with them. We've seen some inconsistencies just in our energy and focus throughout a game, so our goal is to have a good day of prep tomorrow and be ready to play for 90 minutes.
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