BETHLEHEM, Pa. – A thrilling 90-minute battle saw the Midshipmen nearly score a game-winning goal in the final four seconds, but the Navy men’s soccer team ended Saturday night with a 2-2 draw against Lehigh at the Ulrich Sports Complex in Bethlehem, Pa.
When junior midfielder Jason Aoyama’s dead-center shot was headed away by Sam Davis as time expired, it moved the Mids to 4-3-5 overall and 2-1-3 in the Patriot League. At the same time, the Mountain Hawks shifted to 3-6-3 on the season and 2-2-2 in the league standings.
Despite both teams trading possession in the first 10 minutes, Navy was able to generate chances with their possessions as Aoyama and junior forward Baba Kallie both had shots on-target, and shots sailed wide, while the Mids’ defense cleared out a Lehigh corner kick.
The 15th minute saw the Mountain Hawks go up 1-0 as a Navy defender deflected in a Perry Kingson cross. Freshman forward Andrew Schug tried to answer at 18′ when he let a low shot go from the left side of the 18-yard box, but Lehigh’s Tommy Chyzowych made the save.
Navy continued to push the attack with a pair of blocked shots in the 26th and 27th minutes, while Chyzowych stopped junior midfielder Jake Granados’ shot at 31′. After a shot from sophomore midfielder Noah Ward was blocked out of play at 36′, a corner kick led to two more Navy shots off the inbound, but Chyzowych saved both on the goal line. Sophomore goalkeeper Pierce Holbrook was active on the other end late in the half when a Euan Forrest header missed wide in the 41st minute, and Holbrook denied Jack Sarkos at 44′ on a shot from outside the penalty box.
The second half started with both teams putting chances together early until Chyzowych’s save on an Aoyama shot at 54′ deflected out of play. The ensuing corner kick led to three more Navy corner kicks in under two minutes, as the fourth corner from the foot of junior midfielder David Jackson found a scrum of bodies inside the box, with junior defender Zach Wagner heading the ball past Chyzowych to even the score in the 56th minute.
The Mids continued the pressure over the next 20 minutes with a pair of shots on-target and a blocked shot by Granados, while Lehigh had a Davis header go wide off a corner. Navy converted again in the 75th minute when senior forward Kevin Hileman had a slide tackle near the Lehigh goal line that gained him possession before crossing it to Ward, as Ward fed sophomore midfielder Connor Walcott for a give-and-go, with Walcott’s pass back finding Ward enough room to fire a shot past Chyzowych to hand Navy its first lead of the night.
A quick answer by Lehigh in the 78th minute had Jason Pynadath’s cross find Sarkos in the box, who leaped and connected with his right foot on a shot that beat Holbrook to his right side, knotting the score even once again.
Just over a minute later, at 79′, Holbrook made a jumping save to deflect a Forrest header over the net, with the Navy defenders then clearing a pair of Lehigh corners.
The Mountain Hawks kept up the attack with off-target shots in the 84th, 85th, and 86th minutes. At the same time, the Mids had the last chance of the evening with four seconds on the clock when Aoyama put a desperation shot on-target that caught Chyzowych out of the net, but Davis was there to stop the potential game-winner as time expired.