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Saramago scores twice, Hounds top Lehigh 2-1

By: Desmond Boyle

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What an incredible turnaround it’s been for the Loyola men’s soccer team. Last year they could barely get shots off but this year they are not only scoring but they are still undefeated in Patriot League play and in first place in the conference after beating the Lehigh Mountain Hawks, 2-1 on Saturday night.

Freshman forward Brian Saramago was a force all night long for Loyola, constantly creating space to shoot at the Mountain Hawks goal. Sophomore midfielder Gabriel Carllson also influenced the game with his incisive passing and composure in possession.

Carllson had the first real chance of the game when he ripped a shot wide after playing a one-two with Saramago at the edge of the area. Nico Brown then took advantage when a Lehigh defender slipped and sent a fast cross that nearly deflected for an own goal before the Mountain Hawk defense managed to clear.

Saramago then hit a beautiful curler into the top left corner after shooting with his left foot from over 20 yards out just nine minutes into the game. The NSCAA Division 1 Player of the Week netted his seventh goal of the season.

Saramago then quickly added to his tally scoring on a counter attack on a counter attack. The freshman striker put his head down and rocketed a shot from the right wing at the edge of the area which beat Lehigh’s senior stopper Jacob Gottwald at his near post.

“The coaching staff has been pushing me hard, telling me not to drop my and head and just keep going and it’s been working,” Saramago said.

Looking for a hat trick, Saramago came inches away after receiving a cross from Brown but his shot was pushed onto the crossbar by Gottwald.

Loyola was dominant in the opening 20 minutes, putting up six shots and two shots on target which both found their way into the net. Lehigh also pulled Gottwald for freshman Will Smith.

Danny Gonzalez had the best chance for Lehigh as he found himself one v one with Loyola goalkeeper Matt Sanchez. Gonzalez blasted a shot wide from 15 yards out 30 minutes into the game.

At half the Greyhounds held their 2-0 lead and looked to be in control, but the second half was a different story as Lehigh pushed to get back in the game.

“We’re immature and we’re young,” head coach Steve Nichols said, “We’ve always been chasing, chasing, chasing now we need to learn how to be chased and hold a lead.”

Gianfranco Giammatteo had the first chance of the second half, lashing a volley from short range directly at Sanchez, who made the save. Lehigh kept the pressure on as Gonzalez as a low shot at the edge of the area forced Sanchez into his most difficult save of the night.

Gonzalez tested Sanchez again an hour into the game but saw his low line drive pushed out of danger by the senior. Giammatteo then managed another shot ten minutes later, ripping a hard angle try from seven yards out that Sanchez pushed out for a corner.

Lehigh was determined however and pulled one goal back on the ensuing corner. The initial cross was cleared out of the area and fell to sophomore defender Matt Morana who then crossed into classmate Mark Forrest. Forrest guided a header past Sanchez into the net 70 minutes in.

Giammatteo had Lehigh’s last best chance for equalizing in the 80th minute, but his shot from the edge of the area was well over the bar.

The Hounds will put their unbeaten Patriot League record on the line again next Saturday at Army before returning home to host Bucknell on Wednesday, October 26 at 7 pm.

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Desmond Boyle

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