Lehigh to open season Friday at Manhattan, face Vermont at home Sunday

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BETHLEHEM, Pennsylvania – A brand new season is officially approaching as the Lehigh men’s soccer program kicks off the 2021 campaign on the Street Friday night in Manhattan and competes against the Jaspers at 7 p.m. The Mountain Hawks then host Vermont Sunday at the Ulrich Sports Complex at noon.

For all spectators who prefer seats at a physical distance, the section at the north end of the grandstand is marked with physically distant signage.

Lehigh heads into the new season with a lot of hope and potential after a challenging spring 2021 season cut to just six games due to the COVID-19 pandemic. With only two wins in six attempts, the Mountain Hawks missed the field of the Patriot League tournament with four teams and were unable to successfully defend their 2019 title.

The program is filled with high school students, including three senior citizens in their fifth year in Stevo Bednarsky, Trevor Koski and Bratislav Petkovic.

When the preseason poll and awards came out a few weeks ago, it was Bednarsky and Sr. Josh Luchini who received the preseason All-Patriot League awards. Bednarsky is a three-time All-Patriot League selection that aims to become just the 14th four-time winner in league history and the fifth Lehigh player to accomplish this feat (since Doug Cusick in 2003).

Luchini returns as the Mountain Hawks’ top scorer from last season when he scored all three of his goals against Bucknell in a 4-1 win on March 20, Nolan Jetter and Michael Tahiru). In his last full season, Luchini scored 11 goals and two assists in the league in 2019. In his career, he has scored 20 goals with seven assists for 47 points in three seasons.

Lehigh is returning three goalkeepers from last season, with both senior Noah Sutherland and runner-up Blake Koski ready to split the start time this year. Sutherland kicked off the season opener at American last year, while Koski kicked off five games, scoring 21 saves with 1.72 goals against the average.

Manhattan hits a similar 2–4 overall record in the MAAC game this spring, beating Iona and Canisius. Leading goalscorer Brandon Joseph-Buadi returns for his fifth season at Jaspers after scoring two goals in six games earlier this year. Junior Lucas Cyriacus scored two assists to lead his teammates. Danny DiMarco got most of the action between the pipes, making two starts in five appearances with a 1.14 GAA and 18 saves.

Lehigh is 5-0 all-time against Manhattan and most recently took a win at the start of the 2019 season at the Ulrich Sports Complex. Trevor Koski scored a decisive goal for the 1-0 victory in the 54th minute after a free kick by Nick Jennings.

Lehigh will be Vermont’s second opponent in the 2021 season as the Catamounts opened the game in Iona on Thursday. Vermont went through 5-2-1 in the spring 2021 season and fell 2-0 to top seed New Hampshire in the America East Championship Game. It comes this year as the second-placed team of the conference in the preseason. Evan Rouleau scored two goals last season while Alex Nagy led the team with four assists. Nate Silveira had a strong season in goal last year, stopping 25 shots with 0.69 GAA and four shutouts.

The matchup on Sunday is only the second meeting between the teams that last played to a goalless draw at the UNH Fall Classic in 1997.

Friday night’s game will be streamed live for free on Jasper Sports Network, while Sunday’s home game against Vermont will be streamed live on ESPN + (subscription required).

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