By Brooks Warren, Staff Writer
File photo by Owen DiDonna/ The Towerlight
Towson fell to Lehigh University 4-1 at Ulrich Sports Complex in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania on Friday, Sept. 6.
Junior Forward Drew Pecora and freshman midfielder Sara Bonthius scored two goals a piece to lead the Mountain Hawks (2-0), while freshman attack Samantha Aljets scored the Tigers (0-3) lone goal. Freshman goalkeeper Tess Okkerse had another solid outing behind the net, saving five shots and allowing one past her. Sophomore goalkeeper Camille Potillo saved two shots herself in relief of Okkerse, but allowed three goals to go past her.
“We created opportunities, but struggled to capitalize on those moments,” head coach E.A Jackson said. “There were some beautiful moments of connectivity between our athletes, but moving forward, we need to be more consistent in finding each other.”
After Lehigh and Towson exchanged shots in the opening minutes of the first quarter, the opening goal came from Pecora, who shot from the top of the circle off an assist from sophomore midfielder Leah Mullery. The second goal of the day came in the third period from another Mullery pass, this time to Bonthius who wrapped her shot around the goalpost.
The final two goals also came in the third period when Bonthius beat Potillo one-on-one, and then Pecora scored her last goal on a low-flying shot when she was fed by senior midfielder Amanda Boyer. Lehigh unleashed 21 shots, 11 of them being on goal in the contest. The defense had some strong moments and some breakdowns according to Jackson. She put the onus on her struggling defense to make major strides and improve.
“Without making excuses, the reality is (that) three out of four out of our four defenders yesterday were freshmen,” Jackson said in a call to action to her defense. “We need to learn a little quicker than other teams. We don’t have the luxury of time on our side, the season is underway.”
On the other end, the Tigers showed progress and hope, although they didn’t often produce the desired result. As a unit the Tigers let off six shots, three of them were on goal. Aljets had a team-high two shots while junior midfielder Beira Ho, sophomore attack Kasey Bubel, and sophomore midfielder Paige Reese recorded one shot apiece.
“We are getting there. We are creating opportunities to finish,” Jackson said. ”We simply need to find the back of the goal more often.”
The lone goal scored by Aljets was proof that not only will the Tigers compete even if the game seems to be out of reach, but that the young core of athletes have been learning and studying the game.
“The goal that we did score was brilliant,” Jackson said. “[Freshman midfielder Georgia Beachly] stripped the ball from Lehigh and then connected with Sam Aljets on the front line. Sam pulled the keeper off her line and let a shot rip from the top of the circle. It was beautiful.”
Towson welcomes the University of Maryland on Wednesday, Sept. 11 at the TU Field Hockey Complex. The game begins at 4 p.m.