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Men’slacrosse: @LehighLacrosse rallies past @LafayetteMLAX to gain Patriot League playoff berth

Friday, 17th April 2015

Categories Boy's/Men's, College, Posted 4/17/15
From Press Release

Trailing for much of the game, the Lehigh men’s lacrosse team scored four goals in the final 5:18 including the game-winning goal with 1:27 remaining as the Mountain Hawks defeated archrival Lafayette 11-10 in the regular season finale on Friday evening.

With the win and Boston University’s loss to Holy Cross, Lehigh advances to its fifth straight Patriot League Tournament. The sixth-seeded Mountain Hawks will travel to #3 seed Bucknell on Tuesday at 7 p.m. Lehigh enters the postseason winners of five of its last six games.

“I want to give a ton of credit to Lafayette,” said Lehigh head coach Kevin Cassese. “They outplayed us for 55 minutes of that game. They really took it to us and they controlled the play and the emotion. I tip my hat to them. At the end of the day, we were able to make enough plays to win today, and I’m very grateful for that, but I am disappointed about how our guys played tonight.”

Senior Dan Taylor and junior Reid Weber (Germantown Academy) ended the evening with almost identical stat lines, scoring four goals apiece, accounting for six of Lehigh’s second-half tallies. Seniors Kurtis Kaunas and Klay Heston, and junior Alex Eaton scored the Mountain Hawks’ other goals.

Junior Tripp Telesco led the defense with three groundballs and four caused turnovers while freshman Adam Sawicki was sensational in goal, making a career-high 17 saves.

Jason Sands had two goals and two assists for the Leopards, who finish 4-10 and 1-7.

“I don’t think tonight was our best effort by any means,” said Taylor. “I have to give a lot of credit to Lafayette. They came out here and they gave us an absolute dogfight.”

Taylor opened the scoring at 11:22 of the first quarter on an impressive transition goal off a feed from junior Ray Mastroianni. Lafayette answered with the next two, but Taylor tied the score just 20 seconds into the second quarter.

After two more Leopards goals, the Mountain Hawks scored the next three to take a 5-4 lead after an extra man goal from Heston.

Lafayette scored the last goal of the first half and first goal of the second before the teams traded goals over the remainder of the third quarter. Weber scored both of Lehigh’s tallies, tying the score at six then seven.

After eight minutes of the fourth quarter without any scoring, Lafayette’s Robert Orazietti scored two straight to make it 9-7 Leopards. From that point on, Weber and Taylor took control and junior Casey McAdam won some big faceoffs to help shift momentum back to Lehigh. Weber scored at 5:18 followed by a Taylor score at 4:20. Lafayette took a 10-9 lead at 3:16, but Taylor scooped the groundball off the ensuing faceoff and went hard to goal, beating Leopards goalie Ben Falcone to tie the score at 10.

McAdam forced a turnover off the ensuing faceoff and Lehigh took advantage as Weber took a pass from Eaton and scored his fourth goal of the game, making it 11-10 with 1:27 remaining. Lafayette won the following faceoff, but sophomore Ian Strain forced a turnover and the Mountain Hawks held onto the thrilling victory.

“Our big boys stepped up when they needed to,” said Cassese. “I thought in particular, the level of urgency that Dan Taylor played with in the fourth quarter was pivotal for us. The other guys followed suit. When he made some big plays for us, it really got us going.”

Final shots were 51-35 in favor of Lafayette while the Leopards held a 29-28 edge in groundballs.

Sixth-seeded Lehigh now heads to third-seeded Bucknell on Tuesday at 7 p.m. The Bison won the regular season matchup, 9-8 in overtime back in early March.

“We’re still searching for our best lacrosse and we’re still searching for our best unit,” said Cassese. “We’re very fortunate that we get the opportunity to play another game. We certainly tip our caps to Holy Cross for going in and making the most of their opportunity. We get the opportunity to fight on and hopefully our guys understand just how lucky they are to be able to do that, they appreciate every day at practice this week and they appreciate the opportunity to play again.”

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