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Lehigh hosts St. Joseph’s men Saturday in season openers for both teams

Friday, 11th February 2011

Categories Boy's/Men's, College, Posted 2/11/11
From Press Releases

The Lehigh men’s lacrosse team hits the field for its season opener on Saturday (1 p.m.) when it hosts Philly rival St. Joseph’s at the Ulrich Sports Complex.

The Mountain Hawks begin 2011 with high hopes following a thrilling end to last season, which featured two straight wins over ranked foes.

The Mountain Hawks will honor former teammate Shane Donlan ’09, who passed away last month. There will be a moment of silence prior to opening faceoff, while the squad will also wear helmet decals that read SD 9.

Saturday marks the earliest game in program history; the previous earliest was Feb. 14 (in each of the past two seasons). Last year’s matchup was scheduled for the 13th, but was pushed back to the 14th due to snow.

Fans who can’t make it out to Ulrich on Saturday can watch the game live on Live stats will also be available.

Lehigh is set to open with Saint Joseph’s for the fourth straight season, with the Mountain Hawks winning two of those previous three matchups. Lehigh edged the Hawks last season, 7-6, led by a hat trick from junior Adam Johnston and 10 saves from sophomore Dan Carr (Penn Charter) in his collegiate debut.

Despite a tough middle of the season, the year concluded in a big way, with wins over No. 9 Villanova and No. 19 Lafayette. That gave Lehigh an 8-7 overall record, its best mark since 2006.

The win over the Wildcats was a 15-14 double overtime thriller, while the second was a 10-9 overtime triumph over the arch rival Leopards. Carr impressed in both games, as he made a career-high 19 saves against Nova – including six in the first quarter to help Lehigh open up a 5-4 lead. He then made nine saves at Lafayette.

The 2011 campaign sees a talented group of newcomers entering the program, including two players who cracked Inside Lacrosse’s top 100 incoming freshmen. Local product Ty Souders (Emmaus) was ranked 76th on the list, while Ryan Buttenbaum (Conestoga) was ranked 93rd. Souders is projected to start at close defense while Buttenbaum comes in as a faceoff specialist.

The Mountain Hawks do return seven of their eight top scorers, led by the sophomore duo of Dante Fantoni and David DiMaria. Fantoni led the squad with 40 points (26 goals, 14 assists) while DiMaria posted a team-best 24 assists. Junior Adam Johnston scored a team-best 27 goals a year ago, including 10 on man-up.

Saint Joseph’s – formally of the MAAC – enters the challenging Colonial Athletic Association this season. The Hawks posted a 3-12 record last season, defeating VMI, Detroit and Wagner for a respectable 3-5 conference mark.

Graduated senior Sean Evans (Henderson) led the way in scoring with 34 points via 24 goals and 10 assists. Also not returning is Artie Marrapese, who recorded 29 points behind 16 goals and 13 assists. Senior Kyle Williams leads the returnees with 22 points (13 goals, nine assists). Junior Griffin Ferrigan enjoyed a strong 2010 season, posting a .551 save percentage and 150 saves in only 12 games played. That included 23 stops against Lehigh last season to give Saint Joseph’s a chance.

Lehigh leads the all-time series, 9-2, which includes wins in five of the last six. The first-ever meeting came in 1994, a 12-3 victory. The Mountain Hawks won each of the next three meetings by 10 or more goals before falling in 2004 by an 8-5 final.

The Mountain Hawks return to action next Saturday (Feb. 19) when they travel to Villanova to face the Wildcats. Lehigh returns to the Ulrich Sports Complex on Tuesday, Mar. 1 for its Patriot League opener against Army. Faceoff is set for 7 p.m.

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