BETHLEHEM, Pa. – First-half goals from senior Ali Famili and junior Jamie Luchini coupled with a strong defensive second half led the Lehigh men’s soccer team to a 2-1 season-opening victory over Manhattan Friday night at the Ulrich Sports Complex. Freshman keeper Joe Bogan made five saves in his first collegiate game.
“We played a good team tonight and I’m very impressed with our effort,” said head coach Dean Koski. “If we can find two goals in a game then we have a good chance of coming out with a good result. I’m happy for the team because of the great result, but quite frankly we’re still a work in progress and will still need to keep working hard.”
The Mountain Hawks controlled possession for much of the first half. Just 44 seconds into the contest sophomore Danny Gonzalez fired the first shot of the season over the goal. Five minutes later, a Lehigh defensive miscue allowed Manhattan’s Eugene Heerschap to connect on a pass from Alex Shackley and give the Jaspers a 1-0 lead.
Lehigh regained control shortly after as Gonzalez fired a shot from the perimeter of the 18-yard box that ricocheted off the crossbar. Senior Brian Suchoski connected on the rebound, but sent his header right into the hands of Manhattan keeper Alex Coates McDowall. Lehigh kept pressing and five minutes later freshman Doyle Tuvesson was fouled in the box to set up a Lehigh penalty kick. Senior Ali Famili took the shot and sent it straight into the lower left corner of the goal to tie the score at one.
The Mountain Hawks continued to keep the ball on their end of the field, firing off eight shots over the next 18 minutes. In the 33rd minute, Jamie Luchini made a run from the left-hand side of the box and scooted the ball past the keeper’s fingertips into the back right of the net to give the Mountain Hawks a 2-1 advantage.
Manhattan threatened a bit more in the second half, beginning with a breakaway run by Alex Shackley seven minutes into the half. Shackley worked his way up to the six-yard box, but sophomore Justin Worley tackled the ball away to keep Lehigh ahead. The Lehigh defense continued to keep Manhattan at bay while Bogan made several key saves to help Lehigh to the season-opening 2-1 victory.
Lehigh held a 24-16 shot advantage and 8-3 corner kick advantage. Luchini led Lehigh with six shots, four of which were on goal. Manhattan’s Coates McDowall recorded an impressive 11 stops.
The Mountain Hawks are back in action Monday at 7 p.m. when Lehigh travels to Monmouth for a Labor Day matchup.