Lehigh vs. Army
May 4, 2002
The Game Story:
BETHLEHEM, Pa. - Army punctuated its case for an NCAA berth with an exclamation point, routing host Lehigh, 15-6, on the final day of the regular season at Ulrich Field in Bethlehem, Pa., Saturday afternoon. The Black Knights staked claim to a share of the Patriot League title with a 5-1 mark and were crowned tri-champions.

Senior All-American Tim Pearson carried the load for the Black Knights on a beautiful spring afternoon in the Lehigh Valley, tying two Academy records and falling just one point short of another in what may have been his final college game. The Port Jefferson Station, N.Y., native finished with three goals and eight assists for a grand total of 11 points The eight assists ties the Academy record established by Paul Cino in 1982, and Pearson's 11 points is one shy of the school mark of 12 set by Russ Bolling a decade earlier. His eight helpers also brought his season total to 42, which tied Cino's single-season mark set in 1982 as well. Pearson had a hand in all but four of the Black Knights' goals Saturday, taking charge in a must-win situation.

"We wanted to win this game and leave it up to the NCAA to make a decision," Pearson said. "My teammates cut to the net real well today. Some days they fall and some days they don't. Today everything seemed to just fall into place."

Army (8-6) stands in a three-way tie for first place in the Patriot League with Bucknell and Hobart. The school with the highest Ratings Percentage Index (RPI), as determined by the NCAA, will receive the league's automatic bid to the 2002 NCAA Tournament. That announcement is expected to be made sometime Saturday evening.

"We knew everything was on the line," head coach Jack Emmer said. "We didn't want to make it easy for the Patriot League or the NCAA. Timmy (Pearson) was very motivated today."

Army pulled away from the Mountain Hawks (5-9) with a six-goal second quarter that opened up a 9-5 halftime advantage. The Black Knights scored twice in the first 1:35 of the second to open up their first two-goal lead of the game. After Lehigh pulled within one with a marker at 12:59, Army scored four of the next five goals and the hosts would never get any closer than four the rest of the way.

Sophomore's Marko Kostovic and Jeff Bryan each had hat tricks with each one of Bryan's tallies coming courtesy of a Pearson feed. Bryan's three markers gives him a career-high 30 goals on the year. He is the first player to reach that plateau in a single season since Lee Dingman notched 31 in the spring of 2000. Mike Kamon and Andy Mounce each scored twice, and Brian Green and Chris Woods tallied a goal in the win.

The Mountain Hawks found the back of the net just once in the second half. The Black Knights slammed the door with four goals in the fourth quarter. Senior goalkeeper Dominik Nogic made 11 saves in the cage. Sophomore Tom LeRoux, who finished up the final 30 seconds of the match, did not face a shot in relief. Lehigh's Tom Ellis turned away seven Army shots and yielded 14 goals before exiting in the final six minutes of the game. Russell Kushner made one save and allowed one goal in relief.

Army, who won a share for the league title for the first time since 1999, will find out its fate Saturday evening when the final numbers are crunched into the RPI formula. Should the Black Knights emerge with the highest rating, they would play Saturday in Providence, R.I., at Brown University in the first round of the 2002 NCAA Tournament.