Seniors Lead Lafayette to Victory Over Lehigh
Sept. 29, 2012
EASTON, Pa. - Led by its senior class, the Lafayette women's soccer team topped rival Lehigh 1-0 in the team's Patriot League opener in front of a packed house on Saturday evening at Oaks Stadium.
Senior Jill Dozier netted the Leopards' lone goal, which was assisted by classmate Nicole Brownell. The effort was backed by senior keeper Lauren Smedley's fifth clean sheet of the year.
"It's great to get off and get three points in the bank," head coach Mick Statham said after the match. "I said the same thing to Coach Dennis (Bohn) after the men's team beat Holy Cross this afternoon and for our players it is extra special to beat Lehigh."
It didn't take long for Lafayette to break the tie in the 12th minute on Dozier's sixth goal of the year. A Lehigh clearing attempt was sent back in the Mountain Hawks' defensive third by Brownell to spring Dozier who took a touch before striking a right-footed shot past the oncoming Lehigh keeper Ashley Blanks.
Later in the first half Lafayette defender Kelly Boyce played a ball from midfield toward the Lehigh penalty area for Jaclyn Giordano. The sophomore forward fought for position on the bouncing ball and found herself one-on-one with Blanks, but misfired just to the right of the post.
Smedley was tested on a few different occasions in the match and was up to each challenge Lehigh threw her way. Her most spectacular save came in the 42nd minute on Paige Dyrek's attempt from just outside the 18-yard box. The shot was headed for the back of the Leopards' goal, but Smedley dove and got just enough of the shot to deflect it off the crossbar.
In the 57th minute, Smedley mishit a punt that Dyrek settled and went in on a breakaway. Catherine Galgano raced back and caught up to the Lehigh striker and forced her off the ball so Smedley could corral it.
The shutout for Smedley, who finished with four saves, is the 25th of her career and moves her into a tie for sixth all-time in Patriot League history with Army's Mary Kidd.
"Tonight had to be the best night for support and environment for the program," Statham said of the crowd of more than 500 people. "On behalf of the staff and players, we can't thank the fans enough. They truly were a 12th man for us."
"Like coach said, the three points is great to start the Patriot League season, and especially against Lehigh" Brownell added. "I also thought the atmosphere with the fans was awesome and it was something we hadn't experienced here before."
The Maroon and White had the edge in shots (7-5) and were led by Alyssa Finelli's two. Each team took one corner kick in the match.
Lafayette returns to action when it travels to Ithaca, N.Y. for the final non-conference game of the season against Cornell. Kickoff from Berman Field is scheduled for 7 p.m.
Smedley matches Ashley Wesmiller '03 for the most games played by a goalie in Lafayette history with 63
Dozier now has 15 career goals to her credit
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