Men’s soccer ties Lehigh in race for playoff spot

Bethany Blass, Assistant Sports Editor

The Bison ended a hard-fought battle against Lehigh in a 1-1 stalemate. Impressive performances from Sebastiaan Blickman ’17 and Clarke Fox ’16 contributed to the Orange and Blue’s success. The Oct. 31 game moved the Orange and Blue to 2-3-3 in the conference, keeping them alive and vying for a spot in the Patriot League Tournament.

Less than nine minutes into the game, a Lehigh opponent headed a free kick in for the first goal of the game. Both teams fought hard and made big plays to keep the game interesting, but it wasn’t until the 52nd minute that the Bison responded to Lehigh’s advantage. Blickman took his fourth goal of the season when he managed to one-touch an assist from Jesse Klug ’16.

“It was encouraging to battle back after giving up an early goal,” Fox said. “Going into halftime down a goal, and knowing that we had to level the score to keep our playoffs hope alive, I was proud of our resolve and resilience in getting the goal back and ultimately holding on to secure an important point on the road. As expected, the composition of teams in the Patriot League playoffs will come down to the final weekend of the season. We are one of five teams competing for two unclaimed spots in the tournament, and are preparing to play one of those teams this weekend in Army. We know what is at stake and the importance of this week’s preparation. Our fate is in our hands; if we win, we’re in.”

Both goalkeepers each managed to defend their teams well and keep the game balanced. Fox tallied eight saves during the game to keep the Bison alive. As the match intensified toward the end, the Bison had to fend off eight corner kicks within the last 20 minutes of regulation time, with Fox saving three of them.

As the game was sent into overtime, the teams continued to play with a high level of intensity and passion. Fox managed to have two crucial saves in the concluding two minutes of the second overtime period. Lehigh outshot the Bison 30-16, but the Orange and Blue were able to keep up the high level of defensive play under pressure.

“The highlight of the Lehigh game was definitely our ability to come back from a deficit and tie the game off a great goal,” Chris Thorsheim ’16 said.“It shows our resilience and mental toughness when our season is on the line. As preparation for Army Saturday, we’re looking at it as if it is a playoff game. We must win so it’s important to have a competitive week of practice.”

The Bison will return on Nov. 7 to face Army West Point. The Orange and Blue are in seventh place in the Patriot League, right behind Army and Navy. A win against Army will advance them to the six-team playoffs. The Bison will honor their seniors prior to the game.

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