Lehigh vs. Villanova
April 19, 2005
The Game Story:
Bethlehem, PA – With its biggest game of the season looming on Saturday evening, one might have thought Lehigh was looking past Villanova on Tuesday at the Ulrich Sports Complex, but that was not the case as the Mountain Hawks downed the Wildcats 7-5 to pick up their eighth victory of the season. The Brown and White now sits at 8-4 on the season, while Villanova drops to .500 at 6-6. Blake Best continued his stellar play for the Mountain Hawks scoring two goals, while David Walsh added one score and two assists.

Lehigh came out on fire on Tuesday and at one point appeared as though it would not allow Villanova to score a single goal. Alec Hoof opened the scoring at the 14:10 mark to put Lehigh in front 1-0. But from there, the offense was stale, but the defense remained sharp as the Mountain Hawks kept Villanova out of the goal. Lehigh got its second goal of the quarter when Best took a pass from Andrew Lucas and found the back of the net with 1:52 remaining in the quarter to put the Brown and White in front 2-0.

David Gaunt scored the second quarter’s first goal six minutes in off of a feed from Walsh and Greg Morin followed that up four minutes later on Walsh’s second helper and Lehigh was in business up 4-0. The Mountain Hawks would retain that four goal advantage and take it into halftime.

The Mountain Hawks continued their hot offensive attack in the second half as Best netted his second score of the contest at the 11:42 mark, and the home team was up by five. Villanova finally got on the board when Dan Fanelli scored off of an assist from Marc Creegan to slice the Lehigh lead down to four at 5-1. Walsh then found the back of the net with 5:14 to go in the third and the Mountain Hawks were back up by six.

As the fourth quarter began, Lehigh appeared like it would roll to victory with no problem at all, but the Wildcats did not go away, as they scored three goals in a span of 3:38 to pull within two at 6-4. But Stephen Marino scored his first goal of the season with 5:27 to go and the Mountain Hawks hung on for yet another win, their fifth of the year at home.

Morin scooped up six ground balls, while Eric Spirko scooped up eight and sent back 12 shots in goal. The Mountain Hawks had 31 shots on the night, and 40 ground balls, while both teams had trouble holding onto the ball with Lehigh turning it over 21 times, and Villanova 18.

Head Coach Chris Wakely wanted to win this game, and was not over looking the national power Wildcats. “I thought Blake (Best) did a great job of quarterbacking our offense. And Tom Weiss was excellent in face-offs, winning seven of 12. (Eric) Spirko had another great game in goal for us too.” Wakely continued, “This was a tough game coming off of the long road trip to Holy Cross over the weekend and now with Lafayette looming on Saturday. But we came out tonight to win this game. We knew if we could beat Villanova that we’d have a shot at getting nationally ranked, which has been one of our goals for the season. We’re really starting to accomplish all of the things we set out to do at the start of the year.”

Lehigh returns to action on Saturday evening as the Mountain Hawks play host to archrival Lafayette at the Ulrich Sports Complex on “Senior Night.” The game will be broadcast live on lehighsports.com beginning at 7:00.