Lehigh vs. Lafayette
April 20, 2013
The Game Story:
BETHLEHEM, Pa. - The #14/16 Lehigh men’s lacrosse team jumped on archrival Lafayette early and often, closing the regular season with an impressive 14-5 on Saturday evening. Sophomore Dan Taylor had a monster game with a career-high four goals and seven points while David DiMaria posted three goals and three assists on his Senior Night. The defense allowed just two even strength goals on the evening as it’s allowed seven or fewer goals in six of its last seven games.

“I was just proud of our guys,” said Lehigh head coach Kevin Cassese. “We talked all week about playing the right way. It could have been easy for our guys to overlook this one. As far as the Patriot League [standings] are concerned, it didn’t mean a ton, but as we all know, when it’s Lehigh-Lafayette, it means a whole lot. I was proud of our guys. I thought they played the right way. They were energized and excited to come out.”

Lehigh’s 14 seniors were recognized prior to their final home game in the Brown and White.

“We got all 14 seniors in the game tonight and they all played really well,” said Cassese. “Just tremendous character guys. I’m really proud of them and the way they showed up tonight, all season and all four years.”

The Mountain Hawks wrapped up their first-ever undefeated Patriot League season while they reached double-digit victories overall (10) for a second straight season. It marks the first time Lehigh has eclipsed double-digit wins in consecutive seasons since 1993 and 1994.

DiMaria and Taylor combined for half of Lehigh’s goals while the other half came from seven different goal scorers. Senior Kyle Stiefel and sophomore Klay Heston each had a goal and assist while senior Brian Hess dished two helpers. Senior Mike Noone helped anchor the defense with two groundballs and two caused turnovers while junior Ty Souders scored three groundballs. Junior Ryan Buttenbaum impressed at the faceoff X, winning 9-of-14 with five groundballs.

Taylor got the scoring started less than a minute in, finishing a feed from senior Alex Drake. Taylor made it 2-0 at 10:29 before goals from junior Cody Ferraro and DiMaria gave Lehigh a 4-0 lead less than 10 minutes into the contest.

The Leopards scored two straight man-up goals and three of the game’s next five goals as Brian Bock pulled Lafayette within 6-3 at 10:15 of the second quarter. Lehigh responded to close out the half on a 3-0 run, extending it to 5-0 with the first two scores of the second half.

Lafayette ended a 17:30 scoreless drought midway through the third quarter to pull within 11-4, but the Mountain Hawks scored three of the final four goals for the convincing 14-5 win.

Lehigh held a 42-36 edge in shots and 29-28 advantage in groundballs. The Mountain Hawks were 3-for-3 on the extra man while Lafayette was 3-for-6. Sophomore Matt Poillon stopped five of eight shots in 27:47 while seniors Dan Carr and Griffin Farha each stopped four of five in extended minutes.

“I was proud of our goaltenders. I thought all of our goaltenders played well,” said Cassese. “It was really nice to see Griffin and Dan get in and make some stops. I thought the guys played really hard and played some passionate ball in front of those guys, and you can definitely understand why.”

The Mountain Hawks now look ahead to the Patriot League Tournament next weekend, which they’ll host. Lehigh will face #4 seed Colgate on Friday (Apr. 26) at 7:30 p.m. after #2 Bucknell and #3 Army square off at 4:30. The winners will face off on Sunday (Apr. 28) at 3 p.m. for the Patriot League Tournament Championship and automatic berth to the NCAA Tournament.

“We’re excited about where we are, but we’re not content,” said Cassese. “We have a lot more to do and we understand this is going to be a huge week for us. We’re happy to host it. It’s going to be a great environment here. We’ve got to get our guys ready to go and ready to play.”