Phillylacrosse.com, Posted 2/5/16
From Press Release
The Lehigh men’s lacrosse team opens their 2016 season on Saturday when the Mountain Hawks host NJIT. Opening faceoff is set for 12 p.m. at the Ulrich Sports Complex. A young Lehigh squad enters the season with high hopes, featuring a strong group of upperclassmen and 16 talented freshmen who look to make their mark. The Mountain Hawks are vying for their sixth season-opening win in the last seven years.
Saturday’s game can be seen live, for free, through the Patriot League Network.
Leading the way offensively for Lehigh is senior Reid Weber (Germantown Academy), who tallied 51 points (38 goals, 13 assists) a season ago. He is the Patriot League’s top returner in points after finishing tied for third a season ago. Weber played his best lacrosse down the stretch, which included a five-goal, six-point effort in the league quarterfinals at Bucknell.
Seniors Casey Eidenshink (La Salle) and Tripp Telesco lead the defense as Eidenshink earned preseason All-League honors this year. Despite graduating a strong senior class, Lehigh features veteran experience at every position, including seniors Alex Eaton and Ray Mastroianni in the midfield and sophomore Adam Sawicki in goal. Sawicki garnered considerable experience last season, playing in nine games (with seven starts). Junior Casey McAdam and sophomore Matt Ernst return at the faceoff X.
The Mountain Hawks also feature several other experienced players who look to step up and play bigger roles in 2016. Junior Ian Strain (Episcopal Academy) looks to play a key role in the midfield while classmate Matt Raposo should get more time at attack after strong flashes a season ago. Lehigh also brings in a top-20 ranked recruiting class (as ranked by Inside Lacrosse), with many looking to make an immediate impact.
Defenseman Eddie Bouhall was the most highly-ranked incomer; he was one of 50 individuals named to the U.S. Men’s Under-19 Tryout pool, he became Lehigh’s first-ever incomer to play in the Under Armour All-America Game and was named one of 15 impact freshmen in the nation by Lacrosse Magazine. Several freshmen are also in the mix for considerable playing time at midfield and attack.
The 2016 Mountain Hawks look to bounce back from an up-and-down 2015 season, which did end with plenty of positives. After a tough 2-7 start, Lehigh went 5-1 down the stretch in the regular season, beating two nationally-ranked opponents in the process (Princeton and Stony Brook) while finding its way into the Patriot League Tournament for a sixth straight season. Prior to last season, the Mountain Hawks had advanced to three straight Patriot League Championship Games (winning two).
Lehigh welcomes second-year program NJIT to the Ulrich Sports Complex on Saturday before heading to Duke next Sunday in a game set to air on ESPN3. The Mountain Hawks play at Furman on Saturday, Feb. 20, before returning home to host Holy Cross on Feb. 27 in the Patriot League opener.
In its second season as a Division I program, NJIT went 0-12 in its first season. The Highlanders had some close games, falling to UMass-Lowell 9-7, Monmouth 6-3, Manhattan 7-5 and Dartmouth 7-5. Joe Lomeli led the team in scoring with 21 points behind 19 goals and two assists. He was followed by Tyler Baggett with 13 points (nine goals, four assists), Liam Derkasch with 12 points (11 goals, one assist) and John Roach with 11 points (four goals, seven assists).
Zachary Melillo took all but 14 faceoff attempts for the season, winning 105-of-233 (45.1 percent) with a team-high 58 groundballs. Rich Brunje tallied a career-high nine groundballs while Nick Marzullo started all 12 games in goal with a 13.16 goals against average and .474 save percentage.
Saturday marks the first-ever meeting between Lehigh and NJIT.