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Archive For The “Rich Sodeke” Category

Season In Review: Too Many Almosts And Not Enough Finishing

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Season In Review: Too Many Almosts And Not Enough Finishing

The word that sums up the 2014 football season for Lehigh is almost, and nowhere was that almost more symbolic and frustrating was in their opening weekend against a team that would make it to the FCS Playoffs, James Madison.

Early in the 4th quarter, thanks to a gutty touchdown run by senior RB Rich Sodeke, Lehigh held a 28-24 lead on the Dukes and had taken advantage of a litany of James Madison miscues to get the ball at their 20 and a golden opportunity to stomp on the throat of the Dukes.

But that 4th quarter instead was an all-too-accurate look into the small things that cost the Mountain Hawks wins this season.

In the end, it wasn’t the talent that had Lehigh limp to a 3-8 finish in the 2014 schedule.  It was a whole lot of little things.
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Lehigh’s Future Is Now As Team Comes Together To Beat Georgetown 27-19

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Lehigh’s Future Is Now As Team Comes Together To Beat Georgetown 27-19

It was a point when the Lehigh football team could have packed it in, or simply decided that they wanted to just play out the string.

Instead Lehigh went down to Washington, DC and got their second win of the season, as well as their first Patriot League win of the season, with a 27-19 victory over the Hoyas.

It wasn’t always pretty.  Just like against Cornell, the mixture of young and veteran Mountain Hawks made some big errors to keep Georgetown in the ball game.

But despite the goofs, for Lehigh there was a lot more good than bad.

For the first time since a few weeks, hope and optimism, for the rest of this year up to the 150th meeting of Lehigh and Lafayette – and beyond – made an appearance.
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Lehigh Works Out Its Bad Karma, Gets First Win, 31-14 Over Cornell

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Lehigh Works Out Its Bad Karma, Gets First Win, 31-14 Over Cornell

There have been times this season that Lehigh has been agonizingly close to winning games they have ended up losing.

It’s as if they’ve been stuck with bad karma; that they’ve been oh-so-close to winning, but some bad karmic event keeps them out of the victory column.

Against the Big Red on homecoming this weekend, the Bad Karma seemed to be at Schoellkopf Field for Lehigh once again.

A well-defended pass bounced into the hands of Cornell WR Collin Shaw set up one Big Red touchdown. and a low snap to punter junior P Austin Devine set up another, making a 17-0 Mountain Hawk become a very slim, thin-feeling 17-14 spot for Lehigh.

But then just like that, the Lehigh offense seemed to have finished with its bad karma, with senior RB Rich Sodeke leading the charge to set up one big touchdown, and scoring the final exclamation point on Lehigh’s first win of the season.

It all added up to a satisfying return to winning for the Mountain Hawks.
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Game Preview: Bucknell at Lehigh, 10/11/2014

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Game Preview: Bucknell at Lehigh, 10/11/2014

It didn’t really need to be mentioned by head coach Andy Coen and the coaching staff, because everyone already knew.

They all remembered last year’s beatdown by Bucknell at Lewisburg, 48-10.

Many of them, even the sophomores, remember the pain of that day.

300 yards rushing by the Bison.  QB Brandon Bialkowski‘s broken collarbone.  Five turnovers.  130 yards receiving for Bison sophomore WR Will Carter.

They also remember the humiliating exclamation point: sophomore RB C.J. Williams‘ hurdle over Lehigh’s secondary, getting an emphatic touchdown to put the icing on the cake.

Sometimes the pain of losses of games gone by can seem distant, unconnectable, by the playing members of a football team.  There is no way for these players to imagine how it felt in 1997 for the Mountain Hawks to lose to the Bison, for example, the last time a Lehigh team had lost to Bucknell in football before last season.

But last year’s loss was so raw, so emphatic, and so emotionally charged that nobody on this team could have possibly forgotten how it felt to go in there and lost that badly, that comprehensively.

There was no need for coach Coen to invoke revenge in a fiery post-practice speech.  They know.
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On The Sixth Try, Monmouth Finally Sails Past Lehigh, 28-21

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On The Sixth Try, Monmouth Finally Sails Past Lehigh, 28-21
Taylor Jackson/Asbury Park Press

Monmouth was 0-5 versus Lehigh in their history going into this weekend’s game.

Even with athletes like WR Miles Austin, WR Chris Hogan and a lot of other very good players, beating the Mountain Hawks was something that every Monmouth player was unable to achieve in their careers.

They had come agonizingly close before – losing games on last-second fumbles, and blocked punts advanced for 1st downs – and talked internally about playing all four quarters, about not getting worn down at the end of the game.

This Saturday, they were not worn down as QB Brandon Hill would get 40 of his 390 passing yards on the Hawks’ final drive, none bigger than his 19 yard rifle to WR Eric Sumlin for the game-winner.
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Having "Faith" After The Tough Loss to JMU

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Having "Faith" After The Tough Loss to JMU

It’s no secret I don’t take losses well.

Despite the fact that I picked JMU to win, and logically, I saw the task of beating JMU as a tough one for these young Mountain Hawks, starting over a dozen new names, emotionally I can’t separate the logical and emotional sides of my brain very well.  When the Lehigh offense was driving down the field with about a minute to play, I saw the win at the end of tunnel of light.

It would have made my day, given me a rush of adrenaline that would have carried me through the day, and perhaps a good chunk of the week.

But it didn’t happen.  The adrenal rush never happened.  I drove home, the loss not sitting well with the Chinese food we ate, nor the breakfast I ate.  The food didn’t taste good.  The tiredness took over.

Something funny happened, though, on the way to next week.

A spark of “faith” that after one game, things might be OK.
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Lehigh Fights Hard, But Bolt Of Lightning and James Madison Power Surge Leads to Defeat, 31-28

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Lehigh Fights Hard, But Bolt Of Lightning and James Madison Power Surge Leads to Defeat, 31-28

It could be that a bolt of lightning, which hit ground supposedly eight miles from Murray Goodman stadium, helped short out a possible Lehigh victory.

Going into halftime, all the electricity was on Lehigh’s side.

Sophomore CB Brandon Leaks unleashed a powerful hit on scrambling JMU QB Vad Lee, stopping him a yard short of the end-zone pylon and giving Lehigh a 21-10 lead going into halftime.

Momentum was all Lehigh in an incredible first half for the Mountain Hawks.-

Before that lightning came down, that is.

The strike – if there actually was a strike, because I didn’t see or hear it – caused a half-hour delay at halftime, despite nothing but blue skies with some clouds at Murray Goodman stadium.

But the lightning gave James Madison, gathering under a tree right before the second half began, the power surge they needed to earn the victory.
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Spring Season: Wideouts and Running Backs

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Spring Season: Wideouts and Running Backs

It’s hard being an offensive player at Lehigh, thanks to the shoes you have to fill.

This season, though, at wideout and running back, it’s even more difficult than usual.

At running back, all the incoming backs need to be able to do is outdo the accomplishments of RB Keith Sherman – who only was Lehigh’s first 1,000 yard rusher in the last eleven years, and also nearly carried last year’s team on his back to a Patriot League championship.

And then there’s wide receiver, where the highest profile offensive players in the last two years, WR Ryan Spadola and WR Lee Kurfis, were back-to-back FCS All-Americans and broke a good portion of Lehigh’s receiving records.  Kurfis, too, nearly carried Lehigh on his back to the playoffs last season.  And Ryan is plyin his trade in the NFL, eager to break through onto the Dolphins’ roster once again.

All the new group from this spring needs to do is to equal their level of excellence.  Simple, right?
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5 Days Until CCSU – No. 5, Rich Sodeke

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5 Days Until CCSU – No. 5, Rich Sodeke

The season will start in 6 days!

At no.5, we look at junior RB Rich Sodeke as our highlighted Lehigh football athlete today.

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Lehigh Spring Football – The Offense

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Lehigh Spring Football – The Offense

Can it be already that half of spring practice is already in the books?

While many of us were watching the NCAA Tournament, ripping up our office pools while watching Louisville upend Michigan in the championship, the Lehigh football team was getting better.

“We’re just trying to learn and get better each day,” head coach Andy Coen said in Lehigh’s mid-season spring report.  “We’ve got so many young, young players… I think we have a lot of talented players here, but a lot of the guys haven’t had the type of opportunity that they’re getting now.”

“I think this team is lacking experience,” Coen told me, “but I don’t believe we are lacking talent. We have been fortunate over the past three years to have some very talented players and they have kept some other guys off the field.”

As we take a peek at the offense today, we see some of the players that have impressed the coaching staff thus far – and, what has to be top on Lehigh fans’ list of wonder, how the battle for quarterback is shaping up.
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