Oct. 1, 2011
BETHLEHEM, Pa. -
The Lafayette women's soccer team opened its 2011 Patriot League slate with a 2-1 victory over rival Lehigh on Saturday night in Bethlehem, Pa. The Leopards were supported by Alex Reisinger and Gina Milone, who each netted their first goals of the season.
"I'm obviously very pleased with the result," head coach Mick Statham said. "I'm happy for the team because they've worked very hard this year and they worked hard again tonight."
In the 41st minute, Lafayette (6-3-1, 1-0 Patriot) drew a red card and a penalty kick when Lehigh's Leah Kulp was sent off, giving Reisinger an opportunity to break the stalemate. The freshman capitalized, scoring the game's first goal and also the first of her career.
Down a man, Lehigh (3-5-1, 0-1 Patriot) quickly scored the equalizer with six seconds to play in the opening half. The Mountain Hawks sent a corner kick into the penalty area that found Genna Pepe, who beat Lauren Smedley to her right. Pepe's tally was set up by Elizabeth Bergman and sent the game into halftime tied at one.
"They were a little disappointed going into halftime having giving up a goal," Statham stated. "I give the team full credit for coming out in the second half and not letting it rattle them too much."
Lafayette took the lead again in the 62nd minute, as Milone registered her first point of the season for the Leopards. Janelle Pierson played a ball to Milone on the left side, who then fired a shot into the far corner past Lehigh keeper Ashley Blanks. The goal put Lafayette ahead 2-1, and would stand up to be the difference in the match, as the Maroon and White limited Lehigh to one shot on target in the final 27 minutes.
"The goal that Gina scored was outstanding and I thought it was a much better second half performance," Statham added. "It's great to get three points and I'm happy for the players because their effort was fantastic tonight."
The Mountain Hawks outshot Lafayette 14-10 in the contest, but only put six shots on frame, compared to nine for the Leopards. Smedley made five saves in net, en route to her sixth victory, while Blanks recorded seven stops.
In addition to Kulp's red card, Pepe received a yellow in the 78th minute.
At 6-3-1, Lafayette is off to best start through 10 games since 2001, when the team began the year 7-3. The victory is also the first Patriot League win for the Leopards since they defeated Army 2-1 in overtime on Oct. 26, 2006.
Lafayette returns to action on Oct. 7, when it hosts Navy in the first of three straight home games. Kickoff from Oaks Stadium is scheduled for 7 p.m.