Women’s Soccer Falls Short To Lehigh

Conor Fitzgerald

The Colgate women’s soccer team had a chance to clinch its first Patriot League regular season title since 2000 last Saturday, but third-place Lehigh had other ideas. Playing at home on Senior Night, the Mountain Hawks handed the Raiders a 1-0 defeat – Colgate’s first Patriot League loss this season. Despite the loss, the Raider’s maintained its top spot in the Patriot League thanks to Bucknell’s victory over American. The two teams played a scoreless first half with Lehigh controlling the game. The Mountain Hawks badly outshot the Raiders, 11-3, in the first half of play. Lehigh’s huge advantage in scoring opportunities foretold that it was only a matter of time before the Mountain Hawks found the back of the net, which they did only seven minutes into the second half on a header by Gina Lewandowski. The sophomore was able to beat junior Colgate keeper Luisa Miller, who had eight saves on the night. The play was set up after a nice cross play by Jocelyn Helwig, who found Lewandowski two yards from the goal for the assist. Although they were down 1-0, the Raiders still had time to mount a comeback, but their offense never got into gear.Colgate’s offense was outshot by eight in the game and managed only one corner kick to Lehigh’s seven. Colgate’s best chance was shut down by defenseman Daniela Molina when she made a sliding block of a point-blank shot by first-year Franny Iacuzzi. The Mountain Hawks were able to blank the Raiders with a strong effort in goal by Erin Iwaskiewicz. The Lehigh keeper recorded her Patriot League-leading sixth shutout of the season and was named the Patriot League Defensive Player of the Week. Getting a win against a good Lehigh team on Senior Night on the road was going to be tough but the Raiders missed a golden opportunity on Saturday. With the win the Raider’s would have clinched the league title and secured home field advantage throughout the playoffs. However, the Raiders are still firmly in the driver’s seat to win the Patriot League title. A win at home against Lafayette, a team that is winless in the Patroit League, will clinch the Patriot League title for the Raiders.The Raider women will have to find a way to get their offense back into gear in order to regain their winning ways. The team still possesses the league’s most potent offense, but it has been held to just two goals over the past three games. The defense will also have to get back to shutting down teams and denying scoring opportunities. When the playoffs came along allowing 11 shots in the first half will allow their opponents too many chances to put points on the board. The Raiders had a dominating five-game stretch that ended two weeks ago ,and if the team could return to form, then it could go all the way in the playoffs, especially if the Raiders can clinch home field advantage. The Raiders will try to capture the Patriot League title today at 7 p.m. on Van Doren Field against Lafayette. They close out the regular season at home against Princeton on Sunday at 1 p.m.