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Men’s lacrosse: Lehigh improves to 7-1 by edging Army, 7-6, in Patriot League opener

Saturday, 17th March 2012

Categories Boy's/Men's, College, Posted 3/17/12
From Press Release

The No. 11 Lehigh men’s lacrosse team continued to roll Saturday afternoon as the Mountain Hawks toppled Army, 7-6, in its Patriot League opener.

Freshman goaltender Matthew Poillon shined once again, recording 13 saves, including nine in the first half to keep Lehigh in the contest. The win helps Lehigh (7-1, 1-0 PL) keep pace with the 1969 squad for the best start in school history. That team won seven of its first eight games and finished with a 10-4 record.

Lehigh defenseman Mike Noone (La Salle) helped the Mountain Hawks improve to 7-1 (Photo by Rene Schleicher)

Overall, the Mountain Hawks are riding a six-game win streak since losing to No. 10 Villanova in their home opener.

“I was impressed with Army,” said Lehigh head coach Kevin Cassese. “They played their hearts out; I thought our guys played their hearts out as well. It’s what I prepared the guys for and what I expected out of our Patriot League opener.”

The teams traded lengthy possessions all afternoon, and combined for 64 total shots, 34 for Army, 30 for Lehigh. Army struck first after more than 10 minutes of scoreless play. Senior Cameron Lao-Gosney broke through for the Mountain Hawks at the beginning of the second quarter to even the score, and the teams traded goals to wind up deadlocked 2-2 at the half.

Despite the physical play on both sides, no penalties were called on either team.

Junior attackman Dante Fantoni led the Mountain Hawks in scoring with his 12th-career hat-trick, with junior David DiMaria, seniors Roman and Cameron Lao-Gosney, and freshman Dylan O’Shaughnessy each finding the back of the net once for the Mountain Hawks.

“At the end of the day, I?m proud of our guys. They showed maturity in the end to solidify the win,” said Cassese. “They didn?t read the press clippings and weren’t believing the hype. They really respected this Army team, ranking or no ranking, and brought their A game so we could get the victory and go 1-0 in the Patriot League.”

The Black Knights dominated faceoffs in the first half, going 6-for-6 at the X. Junior Ryan Snyder finally broke through by winning the opening draw of the second half, and O’Shaughnessy scooped the groundball and beat Army goalkeeper Zach Palmieri just 10 seconds into the second. That gave the Mountain Hawks the lead on one of the few fast-break goals on the afternoon.

Alex Van Krevel responded for the Black Knights to knot the game at three before the Mountain Hawks rattled off three straight to take the lead for good. Army scored two consecutive to pull within a goal with less than five minutes to play, but Fantoni put the Brown and White back up by two with 2:53 left in the game.

The Black Knights scored again with 1:05 to play, and won the ensuing faceoff to put the pressure on. Lehigh’s defense again stood tall, surviving an onslaught of Army offense and several shots that barely missed the cage before O’Shaughnessy caused a turnover with five seconds to play, sealing the victory for the Mountain Hawks.

Lehigh’s current six-game win streak marks the longest streak since 1999, and the seven total victories tie the team’s win total from a season ago with six regular season games remaining (five being against Patriot League opponents).

The squad will travel to Happy Valley to take on No. 14 Penn State Tuesday before returning home for Patriot League play against Holy Cross next Saturday, March 24. Faceoff Tuesday is set for 7 p.m. from University Park.

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