BETHLEHEM, Pa. – The Lehigh women's soccer team will kick off the 2019-20 Lehigh Athletics season when it hosts Delaware on Friday (8 p.m.) and Monmouth on Sunday (4:30 p.m.). Both games can be seen live, for free, on the Patriot League Network. Coming off a Patriot League Championship Game appearance last season, the Mountain Hawks return nine of their top 10 scorers from 2018.
Friday will be part of Lehigh University's first-year orientation. First-year student buses will depart from the Packer Avenue Bus Stop at 7:45 and 8:15 p.m. Buses drop off right at the entrance to the Ulrich Sports Complex. Admission is FREE. Buses will return to Asa Packer Campus at 9:15 and 9:45.
Lehigh ended last regular season with a thrilling 2-1 win at Holy Cross to earn the No. 5 seed in the Patriot League Tournament, its third straight PLT berth. The Mountain Hawks continued with thrilling 2-1 victories in the quarterfinals at Bucknell and semifinals at Colgate, scoring in the final seconds of double overtime and in the final minute of regulation, respectively. Lehigh was the lowest-ever seed (No. 5) to advance to the championship game.
The Mountain Hawks will be searching for their first season-opening victory since 2015. Since, Lehigh tied Monmouth in 2016 and 2017 in its openers. Meanwhile, the Mountain Hawks have won or tied their last five home openers, last losing in 2013.
Delaware was 4-12-2 last season, 3-5-1 in the CAA. The Blue Hens' top three scorers from a season ago return in Riley Dixon (11 points: four goals, three assists), Dani Kabat (seven points: three goals, one assist) and Damali Simon-Ponte (four points, one goal, two assists). The team's two goalkeepers from last year return in Kamryn Stablein, who had a 1.58 goals against average and 76.3 save percentage in 15 games (14 starts). Cali Loeffler recorded a 0.99 GAA and 82.6 save percentage in five games (four starts).
Lehigh is 0-8-1 all-time vs. Delaware, playing in the program's first-ever season in 1991 then tying in 1992. The last meeting came in 2017, a 2-1 Blue Hens' overtime win. The last time the teams played at Lehigh was 2001.
Monmouth is the six-time defending MAAC regular season champion and three-time defending MAAC Tournament champion, and was picked to win it again in the preseason poll. Individually, Madie Gibson was voted the MAAC Preseason Player of the Year, while Jill Conklin, Jess Johnson, Sarina Jones, Amanda Knaub, Anna Lazur and Lexi Palladino were also on the Preseason All-MAAC Team. The Hawks were 16-4-1 last season, with one of the losses coming to Lehigh. Gibson tied for the team lead in points with 24 via eight goals and eight assists. In goal, Knaub tallied a 0.44 GAA and 87.8 save percentage.
Lehigh is 4-9-4 all-time vs. Monmouth, but the Mountain Hawks are in the midst of a four-game unbeaten streak in the series. After losing in 2013, Lehigh and Monmouth tied in 2015, 2016 and 2017 before a 1-0 win last season behind a 72nd minute goal from Kayla Arestivo.
Following this weekend, the Mountain Hawks hit the road for four straight contests, beginning on Thursday, Aug. 29 at Fairleigh Dickinson. Opening kickoff is set for 7 p.m.
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