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Lehigh takes down American, 2-1 in PL opener

Published: September 21, 2019

WASHINGTON — It was a day of firsts for Lehigh men's soccer as the Mountain Hawks used first career goals from Michael Tahiru in the 16th minute and Natan Rosen in the 50th minute to come away with a 2-1 victory over American on Saturday afternoon at Reeves Field in the first Patriot League match of the 2019 season. With the win, Lehigh improves to 4-2-0 overall and starts out the year 1-0-0 in league play.
"I think it's a good opener for us and while American's results don't really reveal that they're a quality team, they're a good team," said head coach Dean Koski. "Any Patriot League team on any given day can beat each other, so to come out on the road, manage the game and we get off with three points, it's what we need to do and we achieved that."
The Mountain Hawks were active in the first half, tallying three total shots to American's one. In the 16th minute, Lehigh had its first quality chance go in for the score as Tahiru played a ball from Andrew White who received it from Trevor Koski and drove it home for his first career score. The goal gave Lehigh a 1-0 advantage early in the first 45. Alex Greene had a chance saved shortly after and was followed by an Ikem Mbalewe shot off the left crossbar before the end of the half.

Just four minutes into the second half, freshman Natan Rosen, the Bethesda, Md. native, used a key pass from Koski to drive in his first career score in front of his hometown fans. The goal gave the Mountain Hawks a 2-0 lead in the 50th minute.

"I thought Michael and Natan were really good today and the emphasis today was to try to get them engaged and play wide and for us to execute the gameplan and for them to do what we asked them to do and get some goals is great for them and I'm really happy for both of them," said Koski.
"Certainly it was Michael's best game for us this season and there's more to him but I'm very pleased by both of their performances today."
Lehigh continued to be active on offense into the next 40 minutes with two shots on goal for Tahiru, putting his total up to four for the game.
American scored in the 75th minute with the score for Nicholas Dimitrijevic, just the second goal for the Eagles on the season.
Lehigh's defense kept American out of the net for the remaining 15 minutes as the Mountain Hawks held on for the 2-1 decision.
Tahiru led the way with four shots, including three on goal, while Rosen added three shots and Josh Luchini, Greene and Mbalewe each tallied a shot as well. Koski finished with two assists for the first time in his career and currently has two goals and three assists for seven points so far during his junior campaign.
Lehigh finished the three-game roadtrip on Tuesday against Penn in Philadelphia before heading back home next Saturday to face Boston U. at the Ulrich Sports Complex.
"We love playing Ivy League teams and we've always had a good relationship with Penn," Koski said. "I know they're having a good year and it's a really good mid-week game for us to have where we don't have to travel too far, it's a great field and a great environment. We'll recover from this game and get ready to play Penn."
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