BETHLEHEM, Pa. - The Lehigh women's soccer team put a pair of headers past the Binghamton goalkeepers while its defense stood tall as the Mountain Hawks topped the Bearcats 2-0 on Sunday afternoon. Freshman Grace Correll scored Lehigh's first goal of the season while she assisted on the second goal, scored by senior Darby Wiegand. Senior Ashley Blanks made six saves between the pipes for her seventh-career shutout.
"I think we had some advantages with them playing on Friday night and them coming to grass (from turf)," said Lehigh head coach Eric Lambinus. "We took advantage of those. We set the tempo of the game in the first half, which really helped gain some momentum. Defensively, we were solid. Offensively, we were creative and had good width. I thought we created a lot of good opportunities."
Lehigh controlled possession in the early going as sophomore Tori Pantaleo fired a shot just over a minute into the game while freshman Amanda Stratton headed a chance in the fifth minute that was saved. The Mountain Hawks continued to attack, ending the first half with a 15-6 shot advantage.
In the 41st minute, Binghamton had its best chance of the game as Jocelyn Acor arced a high shot. Blanks was able to knock the ball off the crossbar before catching the rebound. Lehigh took advantage of the momentum as 3:59 later, junior Paige Elliott unleashed a cross which Correll headed past Binghamton goalie Gaby Gold to make it 1-0 with less than a minute remaining in the first half.
Correll was one of six Mountain Hawk freshmen who saw action on Sunday.
"Sometimes, it's hard for freshmen to come in and play right away," said Lambinus. "A lot of credit goes to the upperclassmen who have welcomed them and worked with them so they can come out here and feel comfortable. We had a couple scrimmages to help them out, but they were fearless, which we want them to be. So I thought they did a good job, but I thought the upperclassmen really helped them out."
The Bearcats came out with three of the first four second-half shots, but Blanks was there to make a pair of saves. Lehigh doubled its lead in the 77th minute as Correll made a cross to Wiegand, who beat Binghamton's second-half goalie Katie Hatziyianis for the 2-0 advantage.
The Mountain Hawks held on from there for their first season-opening victory since 2009.
"We love the fact that we have one from each class in our backline and one from each class in the midfield," said Lambinus. "We have a number of players who are running in and out of the lineup. We feel like we have a really balanced team. We have the veteran leadership, but then we have the freshmen who are just fearless."
Lehigh held a 23-14 edge in shots and 3-0 advantage in corner kicks. Blanks made six saves while a pair of Binghamton goalies combined for seven.
The Mountain Hawks return to action next Sunday (Aug. 31) when they travel to Mount St. Mary's for a 1 p.m. kickoff.
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