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Men’s D1 tournament: Lehigh will open Saturday at North Carolina

Sunday, 5th May 2013

Categories Boy's/Men's, College, NCAA Philly Final Four, Posted 5/5/13
From Press Release

Following its second straight Patriot League Championship, the Lehigh men’s lacrosse team learned Sunday night that it will head to #5 seed North Carolina for its NCAA First Round game Saturday.

Faceoff is set for 12 p.m. on ESPN2.The Mountain Hawks will return to North Carolina where it defeated the Tar Heels last season. UNC and Lehigh enter the NCAA Tournament with the nation’s two longest active winning streaks at nine and seven games, respectively.

“It’s a great opportunity,” said Lehigh head coach Kevin Cassese. “We knew we were going to be in the field, so some of the stress was taken off.

“I don’t think either one of us would have thought we would play the other, but you get into the field of 16, everyone’s great and anybody can beat anybody. We’re just excited to have the opportunity.”

This marks the Mountain Hawks’ second straight NCAA Tournament appearance after hosting fellow ACC foe Maryland last season. After a 5-4 start, Lehigh has reeled off seven straight victories to punch its ticket to the tournament. Lehigh shocked then #4 nationally-ranked UNC last season on its way to a historic 14-3 campaign.

“There’s certainly confidence and motivation,” said Cassese. “Our guys have played there a couple times; our seniors have played there twice. That was our biggest win last year, on their home field. On the flip side, I’m sure they’re going to use that as motivation. But at the end of the day, they’re a different team and we’re a different team. This is a new year.”

North Carolina is led by Marcus Holman who has 74 points behind 36 goals and 38 assists. Penn Charter grad Joey Sankey has 50 points (34 goals, 16 assists) and Jimmy Bitter 47 (29 goals, 18 assists). Kieran Burke owns a 10.14 GAA and 55.2 save percentage between the pipes. North Carolina began the season 3-3 with losses to UMass, Notre Dame and Duke, but has since reeled off nine straight wins for its first ACC Championship since 1996.

The winner of Lehigh-North Carolina will face the winner of #4 Denver and Albany in the National Quarterfinals. That game will take place at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis. Championship Weekend is set for the following weekend down the road at Lincoln Financial Field in Indianapolis.



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