Colgate vs. Lehigh
April 5, 2008
The Game Story:
HAMILTON, N.Y. (4/5/08)—Colgate University scored three goals in the final 5:21 to earn a crucial 5-3 victory over Patriot League foe Lehigh University in men’s lacrosse action. The Raiders held the Mountain Hawks without a goal in the final two quarters.

Colgate improves its record to 5-5 overall and 2-2 in Patriot League action, while Lehigh falls to 6-7 overall on the season and 2-3 against conference foes. The win puts the Raiders one step closer to earning a berth in the four-team Patriot League Tournament.

Each of the past four games, including today’s win, has been decided by two or fewer goals. The 2005 and 2006 contests went into overtime and Colgate defeated Lehigh 10-8 last season in Bethlehem.

Junior Brandon Corp (Chittenango, N.Y.) led all scorers with three goals, including the game-tying goal that started the fourth-quarter run. Senior Matt Lalli (Princeton Junction, N.J.) added two goals, which included the game-winner with 2:54 left in the game.

The Raiders’ defense was strong in the second half after falling behind 3-1 in the first. Colgate held the Mountain Hawks to just 11 shots overall and just two in the final frame. The Colgate defense forced key turnovers down the stretch to secure the important league victory. Colgate battled hard in the ground game, picking up 34 groundballs to Lehigh’s 22.

Colgate’s offense came alive in the fourth quarter after scoring just twice in the opening 45 minutes. Trailing 3-2 with just over five minutes left, the Raiders scored three unanswered for the win.

The run started when the Raiders forced a Lehigh turnover about 25 yards away from the goal. Corp collected the loose ball and raced to the cage to tie the game, 3-3. The Raiders got the ball back again in their offensive zone and called a timeout with 3:06 left to play. Lalli got the ball on the right side of the goal this time and beat Spirko high again for what proved to be the game-winner. Corp secured the win for the Raiders with an empty-net goal after Spirko came out as a defender with 1:42 left to play.

Lehigh raced out to a 2-0 lead in the opening 5:17 with goals from Greg Furst and Matt Diehl. Furst got the ball after an errant Colgate shot on a man-up opportunity and raced down the field and rifled a shot past Raider goaltender Tim Harrington (Lutherville, Md.) for the man-down goal and 1-0 lead.

The Mountain Hawks took advantage of another Colgate penalty less than two minutes later and got a man-up score from Diehl for the 2-0 lead at the 9:43 mark.

Colgate continued to win the faceoffs, but a stingy Mountain Hawk defense forced the Raiders into turnovers and tough shots. The Raiders got just two shots on goal in the first quarter, while Lehigh had six.

Corp put Colgate on the scoreboard 6:01 into the second quarter with his 23 goal of the season. The junior attacker found an opening in the Lehigh defense and fired a shot on net, hitting Lehigh goalie Eric Spirko’s stick and going into the back of the cage.

It was a defensive battle over the next eight minutes, as the two teams combined for just eight shots. Lehigh got the ball back after a save from Spirko, cleared and called a timeout with 1:18 left in the half.

The Mountain Hawks came out of the quick break and got a look for Ricky Cornetta, but it he was stopped by Harrington. Cornetta got the ball back on a Colgate turnover and slipped it past Harrington as time ran out to put Lehigh in front 3-1 after the first two quarters.

The defensive struggle continued in the third quarter with Colgate getting the lone goal in the session. After a collection of Colgate shots went wide, but were back up by the Raiders, Lalli collected a pass about eight yards away from the cage. He took his defender left of the cage and fired a left-handed shot high over the right shoulder of Spirko to make it a 3-2 game at the 11:12 mark.

Colgate continued to stifle the Lehigh offense in the final 11 minutes. The Mountain Hawks had four shots on goal, but Harrington was always up to the task. Lehigh did its job defensively as well in the third quarter not allowing the Raiders another shot on frame in the final 11 to head into the fourth quarter with a 3-2 lead and set up the nail-biting fourth quarter.

Senior Chris Eck (Fairfield, Conn.) went 7-of-11 in faceoffs and picked up three groundballs. Senior E.J. Atamian (Worcester, Mass.) picked up a career-high seven groundballs. Harrington made 11 saves in the game, while Spirko had 11 stops.

The Raiders take a break from conference action with a midweek contest at Binghamton on April 8. The game is set for 7 p.m.