Phillylacrosse.com, Posted 4/27/16
From Press Release
After falling behind 7-2 in the second quarter, the Lehigh men’s lacrosse team pulled within three on two separate occasions, but couldn’t get any closer as the fifth-seeded Mountain Hawks dropped a 13-6 final at No. 4 seed Army West Point in the Patriot League Quarterfinals on Tuesday.
Senior Reid Weber (Germantown Academy, LB3-Philly Elite) and freshman Andrew Pettit (Tower Hill-DE, Duke’s L.C.) each scored two goals to lead the offense while senior Tripp Telesco led the defense with three groundballs and a game-high four caused turnovers. Lehigh finishes its season 6-9, which included the program’s sixth straight league tournament.
“I never question the effort, never question how hard these guys play and how hard they work,” said Lehigh head coach Kevin Cassese. “I’m always pleased with the effort. I definitely give our guys a lot of credit and give Army a lot of credit, too, because they’re the same way.”
The Mountain Hawks continued to struggle in the faceoff game, losing all eight first-quarter faceoffs which helped lead to a 5-2 deficit after 15 minutes of play.
“We’ve been fighting this possession battle for two thirds of the season now,” said Cassese. “We know everything has to go perfectly for us in order to compete in a game. Unfortunately, everything didn’t go perfectly today. A lot of that had to do with Army and their game plan. They were well-coached today.”
Juniors Matt Raposo and Ian Strain (Episcopal Academy) scored Lehigh’s other goals. Freshman Craig Chick had five groundballs and a caused turnover, while also winning four faceoffs.
The defenses controlled play in the early going with neither team scoring for the first 10 minutes. Pettit opened the scoring at the 4:46 mark, but the Black Knights answered in a big way. Army evened the score just nine seconds later, sparking a four-goal in 1:19 run to quickly take a 4-1 advantage.
Raposo ended the run to pull Lehigh within 4-2, but the Black Knights scored the next three goals, taking a 7-2 lead with 7:36 left in the second quarter.
From there, the Mountain Hawks scored two straight, in the span of 45 seconds, to pull within 7-4. Army scored with 4:52 left in the second and 16 seconds into the third, to take a 9-4 advantage, but Weber scored the next two goals, his 36th and 37th of the season, to pull within 9-6 with 3:17 left in the third quarter.
“It was the same story it’s been in the last few games for us. We fight so hard, but we just can’t get it to two,” said Cassese. “If we get it to two, then it’s a little different ballgame and maybe they’re a little uncomfortable. We tried valiantly, but Army did enough to prevent us from coming back.”
Lehigh had chances down the stretch, but Army finished with three fourth-quarter saves. The Black Knights ended the game on a 4-0 run to win, 13-6.
Final shots were 35-24 in favor of the Black Knights while Army held a 36-21 edge in groundballs. Freshman Chris Kiernan made 11 saves in goal across a pair of Black Knight goaltenders, who also combined for 11. Lehigh was 1-for-2 on the extra man while Army was 4-for-6.
Despite the tough end to the season, Lehigh made strides in 2016, finishing 4-4 in the Patriot League and earning its sixth consecutive postseason berth.
“I thought our team really recommitted itself to the things that got us to the championship level a few years ago,” said Cassese. “I thought we got away from that, especially last year, and I thought this team helped us get back on track. What’s unfortunate is it might not show in wins and losses, rings or anything like that, but it shows in effort, attitude and legacy that these seniors are going to leave for the younger players when they come back next year. They know that the bar has been set high, then it’ll be up to them to set it even higher.”