BETHLEHEM, Pa. – Prior to Saturday, Lehigh women's soccer's previous game came Nov. 1, 2019 on the Ulrich Sports Complex grass field, a heartbreaking 1-0 double overtime defeat to American. Nearly 500 days later (491 to be exact) on the Ulrich turf field, the Mountain Hawks flipped the script, marking their return to the field with a 1-0 victory over the Eagles. Playing just her second game in 28 months, junior Bridget Casey scored the game's only goal in the 53rd minute, which was the difference.
"It was really exciting to get back out in a game," said Lehigh head coach Eric Lambinus. "There were good moments and there were bad moments, which you would expect with so much time off. But I thought we solidified ourselves; the last 15 minutes were probably the best minuteswe played. We were pushing, we had some chances, and I thought we locked them down pretty well defensively. I was impressed with American, and I was overall happy with the result."
Casey played only one game in 2019 before missing the rest of the season due to injury. In the 53rd minute, she took a pass from sophomore Mattie Murphy near the sideline and from distance, fired the ball towards goal. It ended up being placed perfectly over American goalkeeper Ryleigh Brown's head and into the left side of the net.
"I can't say enough about Bridget, to come off an ACL through a pandemic, and she was the best player on the field," said Lambinus. "I've been super impressed with everything, including her positive energy and everything she brings. She's been really great for us and it's been comforting to have her back on the team."
The game saw just 12 combined shots, and only six shots on goal. The only first-half shot on goal target in the 10th minute, off the foot of junior Rebecca Van Siclen.
The second half saw five combined shots on net. After Casey's goal, senior Miranda Royds made her first save in the 56th minute and second just over three minutes later.
From that point forward, Lehigh did not allow a single shot over the game's final 31:09 as the Mountain Hawks wrapped up the season-opening victory.
Final shots were 7-5 in favor of Lehigh while the Mountain Hawks held a 6-2 edge in corner kicks. Royds made two saves for her 10th-career shutout across Brown, who tallied three.
Lehigh will return to action next Friday (Mar. 12) when it travels to Army West Point for a 7 p.m. showdown.
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