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Men’s lacrosse: Lehigh wins eighth straight game; Lafayette falls to Army

Saturday, 24th March 2012

Categories Boy's/Men's, College, Posted 3/24/12
From Press Releases

The No. 11/10 Lehigh men’s lacrosse team jumped out to a 5-0 lead and wouldn’t look back in downing Holy Cross, 12-3 on Saturday for its school-record eighth straight win.

With the victory, the Mountain Hawks improve to 9-1 on the season (2-0 in the Patriot League), currently owning the most wins in the nation, while setting a school record for their best start in school history.

Junior David DiMaria spearheaded the offense with seven points, including a career-high four goals to go with three assists.

“I thought we had a nice start today, going up 4-0 in the first quarter,” said Lehigh head coach Kevin Cassese. “I really challenged our guys since that’s been our weakest quarter all season. To come up and put up a four-spot in the first quarter is impressive. It showed our guys were ready to play today and they weren’t looking past anything or anyone.”

Lehigh improves to 2-0 in league play for the first time since 1999. The Mountain Hawks have won eight straight games following a 17-7 loss to #10 Villanova in their home opener Feb. 18.

DiMaria sparked the offense with the game’s first three goals, while adding another in the second quarter and dishing three assists over the game’s final 32:34. Freshman Patrick Corbett tied a career-high four points while setting a career-high two assists. Junior Dante Fantoni added a goal and assist to extend his point streak to 35 straight games, dating back to his freshman season.

“I was proud of our guys’ effort,” said Cassese. “I thought David had an exceptional game; he really set the tone. He had the first three goals and four of our first six. We’re asking David to be our quarterback and that’s what a quarterback does; he steps up when the team needs him and we certainly needed him today.”

The story continued to be the defense, which allowed five goals or fewer for the sixth time this season. Lehigh held Holy Cross scoreless for the game’s first 24:10, then for the game’s final 22:35 as well, in yet another dominant effort. The Mountain Hawks caused nine of the Crusaders’ 17 turnovers, led by two from sophomore Ty Souders.

Freshman Matt Poillon continued to excel in goal, stopping seven-of-10 before being relieved by sophomore Griffin Farha in the final minutes. That included a number of sensational point-blank stops. Poillon’s save percentage is up to a stellar 62.6 while his goals against average lowered to 5.57, both among the nation’s best.

DiMaria single-handedly gave Lehigh a 2-0 lead with a pair of unassisted goals, at 11:52 and 8:01. He made it 3-0 when he finished a pass from Corbett at the 1:44 mark before Fantoni scored his first just 17 seconds later, off an unsettled situation.

Sophomore Matt Smith (Conestoga) took a Fantoni pass and rocketed a shot past Holy Cross goalie Kenny O’Connor at 10:35 of the second quarter before the teams traded goals heading into halftime with Lehigh on top, 7-2.

Corbett scored his second straight just 1:04 into the third quarter to help set the tone. Senior Adam Johnston then netted his team-leading seventh man-up goal of the season at 7:34 before Holy Cross’ John Hannan scored just nine seconds later. However, freshman Alan Henderson took a feed from DiMaria at 1:59 and finished his first-career goal to make it 10-3 after three quarters of play.

Junior Brian Hess and freshman Dan Taylor added goals in the fourth, good for the 12-3 final.

Lehigh dominated the final shot count, 48-18 and groundballs, 43-23. The Mountain Hawks won 14-of-19 faceoffs, led by 11-of-16 (and seven groundballs) from junior Ryan Snyder. Freshman Ryan Buttenbaum was a perfect 3-of-3 at the X. Lehigh was 2-for-2 on the extra man to Holy Cross’ 0-for-2. Poillon’s seven saves came across O’Connor, who had 10.

“We’re taking it one game at a time,” said Cassese. “I’m certainly proud of what our players have been able to do and what our juniors and seniors have been able to put forward in the leadership category. It all comes back to that in the end. We didn’t play our best today, but we played well enough to win. We played good defense and offensively, we had a few players step up to carry the win.”

The Mountain Hawks will next travel to Navy on Friday for a nationally-televised showdown on CBS Sports Network. Opening faceoff is set for 7 p.m. in Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium.

Army 10, Lafayette 3

A strong second quarter effort by Army propelled the Black Knights to a victory over Lafayette in Patriot League men’s lacrosse action on Saturday afternoon at Fisher Stadium. Garrett Thul scored four goals to lead Army (4-5, 1-1) offensively.

Lafayette (2-6, 0-3) kept up with the visiting Black Knights through the first 15 minutes as the teams were knotted at a goal apiece after the first quarter. Thul opened the scoring with 6:16 showing before Colin Serling netted the equalizer exactly a minute later.

The second quarter belonged to Army as they controlled the action for a majority of the period. Four consecutive goals put the Black Knights ahead 5-1 less than seven minutes into the quarter. Devin Lynch tallied two of the scores, including one as part of a man-up situation. Lafayette did crack Army goalie Zach Palmieri on the other end when freshman Sonny Round came from behind the cage and sent an underhand shot between his legs, pulling Lafayette within three before halftime.

Two and a half minutes into the second half, Lafayette made it 5-3 when Brian Bock fed Cory Scheuerle (St. Joseph’s Prep) in front of the goal. Scheuerle deposited a shot into the back of the net, his eighth of the season, but Lafayette failed to score another goal the rest of the way.

Army scored the last five goals to run the final score to 10-3 and controlled the game statistically. The Black Knights won 11 of 17 faceoffs, had a 44-23 shots advantage and collected 35 ground balls compared to Lafayette’s 27.

Lafayette’s Jake Hyatt made a career-high 12 saves in goal, while Palmieri turned away eight shots on the opposite end.

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