The Lafayette Leopards became the first team in the League to qualify for post season play on the backs of a “Rivalry” win against Lehigh 1-0. The McAndrews goal occurred at 17:09 into the game as Junior Grace Angelella found sophomore Molly McAndrews by the circle. McAndrews drove for the circle and found an open space and delivered the game winner. It was then up to the Lafayette defense to stymie the Mountain Hawks for the rest of the game.
Lehigh had a plan to high press the Leopards, and captain and defender Lisa van der Geest as well as Anna Steps found themselves surrounded by Brown uniforms but they found ways to escape and move the ball upfield, either by a long pass or by nifty stick work. The rest of the team responded to the strong Lehigh game plan as well, and the availability of a deep bench by Lafayette was a key to the win as well. Lafayette had six subs rotating into the game while Lehigh had only three.
The Lehigh goalkeeper was forced to make 14 saves as Lafayette had 18 shots, 15 of them on goal. In addition, Lafayette had 4 corners to Lehigh’s 3, one of which occurred in the last minuteandwas off its mark. Senior Cam Costello had a team high 5 shots.
Lehigh used an aggressive high press for most of the game in a remarkable display of fitness. But Lafayette had the skill today, as they gave few opportunities to Lehigh to mount an effective offense. This is the fifth “Rivalry” game in row to end with a one goal margin.
I have to admit I had this game mentally circled all season long and realized it could be the key to the season. Although there are 4 regular season games left, two of them will be league games with Bucknell at home and American in DC. A sweep would give the Lafayette the regular season championship, and they would host the two game tournament, to determine who will move on to the national NCAA tournament.
The other two games, one will be at home, Sunday, senior day against William and Mary and next week, aside from the Bucknell game at home there will be a game at Penn the following day.