Lafayette vs. Lehigh
March 29, 2008
The Game Story:
EASTON, Pa. - In typical Lafayette versus Lehigh fashion, the crosstown rivals battled through a hard-fought, back-and-forth contest on Saturday evening. Lehigh used four straight second half goals to walk away with a 9-7 victory at Rappolt Field.

It was Lafayette that set the tempo from the opening face-off, opening the scoring just a minute and 20 seconds into the contest, when sophomore Matt Mersky found John Galassi in front of the Lehigh cage. Galassi roped a shot past Lehigh goalkeeper Eric Spirko and Lafayette grabbed the 1-0 lead.

The Leopards continued to keep the pressure on the Lehigh defense and again found the back of the net at the 10:04 mark of the first quarter when Steve Serling used a Galassi assist to give the Leopards a 2-0 advantage.

The teams battled through the next six minutes scoreless, before Lafayette ended the opening 15 minutes scoring with a Mersky goal from Serling with 3:56 remaining in the quarter.

In the see-saw battle, it was Lehigh who controlled the first 10 minutes of the second stanza. Five straight goals from the 12:42 mark to 6:02 remaining gave the Mountain Hawks a 5-3 lead.

The Leopards responded with two goals of their own to close the half's scoring. A man-advantage goal from senior Andrew Horton off a Mersky assist cut the Lehigh lead back to one. Mersky notched his second goal of the game just under three minutes later. The unassisted tally was the final of the half, as the team's found themselves in a 5-5 tie going into intermission.

The third quarter belonged to Lehigh, scoring three goals in the stanza and opening the final quarter with a goal at the 8:40 mark to jump out to a 9-5 lead.

Again, Lafayette had a response, started by a Brett Djaha goal with 7:54 remaining to pull the Leopards back within three (9-6). Just over two minutes Lafayette, freshman Tom Perini found the back of the cage and Lafayette looked poised to make a comeback.

However, four Leopard shots in the final five minutes were unable to find the back of the cage and Lehigh escaped with a 9-7 victory.

Junior goalkeeper Jeff Canfield grabbed a season-high 15 saves on the evening. Lehigh held a slim advantage in ground balls, picking 23 to Lafayette's 22 in the game. Both teams committed 18 turnovers.

The Leopards now turn their focus to mid-week, non-conference tilt with Marist on Wednesday afternoon. Face-off is set for 3 p.m. in Poughkeepsie, N.Y.