Sept. 20, 2009
EVANSTON, Ill. - It was a true road test for the Lafayette men's soccer squad, as they faced No. 25 Northwestern on Sunday afternoon in Evanston. Unfortunately, the Wildcats came out on top of a 2-1 score to hand the Leopards a loss.
Lafayette (4-2-1) nearly forced overtime but a late Northwestern (3-1-2) goal broke what had been a 1-1 tie and sealed the win.
The Leopards struggled offensively, taking only five shots to Northwestern's 21. Despite the disparity in shots, the teams played a scoreless first half. Sean Peckham netted the only goal for Lafayette, his third of the season. Goalie Philip Nelson made a season-high eight saves.
The opening half saw limited scoring opportunities for both teams. Peckham registered his team's first shot of the game after more than 20 minutes had elapsed. That stood as the Leopards' lone shot of the half and the teams went into their locker rooms locked in a scoreless tie, thanks in part to Nelson's four saves.
Peckham finally got the scoring started with a penalty kick goal at the 53:30 mark, giving the Leopards their first lead of the weekend.
That lead unfortunately did not last long as five minutes later, Northwestern's Oliver Kupe came through with a header to knot the game at one.
In what had already been a chippy game with four yellow cards handed out to Lafayette, the Leopards also received a team red card in the 58th minute. The defense hung tough, though, as Lafayette held the Wildcats off the scoreboard and with just over two minutes to play in regulation, it seemed the match was destined for overtime.
Northwestern had other ideas though, and at the 87:49 mark, Peter O'Neill found himself alone at the back post and knocked the ball into the net for the 2-1 Wildcats lead.
Wayne Maminski had Lafayette's final chance to force overtime with a shot with 2:43 to play but it sailed wide.
Peckham and senior defender Nick Leigh were named to the All-Tournament Team.
The Leopards have the week to prepare for their Patriot League opener when they travel to Holy Cross on Saturday for a 3 p.m. match.
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