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.@LehighLacrosse faces BU in Patriot League playoffs today

Tuesday, 25th April 2017

Categories Boy's/Men's, College  
 

Phillylacrossecom, Posted 4/25/17
From Press Release

The Lehigh men’s lacrosse team is set to take part in its seventh straight Patriot League Tournament as the sixth-seeded Mountain Hawks travel to third-seeded Boston University for the quarterfinals on Tuesday at 7 p.m. Lehigh finished the regular season tied for fourth in the stands with a 4-4 Patriot League mark, tied with Navy and Holy Cross. Lehigh is one of just two programs to take part in each of the last seventh Patriot League men’s lacrosse tournaments (along with Army).

The Mountain Hawks clinched their spot in the postseason with a convincing 9-6 win over Bucknell on Friday. Lehigh used a 6-0 run to turn a 2-2 tie into an 8-2 third-quarter lead, which was more than enough for its fourth straight home win and seventh overall victory of the season. The Bison scored three straight goals to pull within 8-5 with 12:50 remaining, but the Mountain Hawks didn’t allow another goal until 45 seconds remaining when Lehigh was ahead by four goals.

Sophomore Andrew Pettit (Tower Hill) led the offense with four goals, his second straight hat trick and seventh of the season. He has recorded multiple goals in 12 of 13 games this season and 13 of his last 14 dating back to last season. On Senior Night, senior Ian Strain (Episcopal Academy) had a big day, posting his first-career hat trick and finishing with three goals and one assist. Sophomore Tristan Rai scored Lehigh’s two other goals, to go with an assist, while senior Matt Raposo had two assists.

Lehigh’s defense was the big story, holding Bucknell to a season-low six goals. Included was a long 24:58 shutout streak, as the Mountain Hawks scored six straight goals to open the dominant 8-2 advantage. Five different Lehigh players had a caused turnover, one of which was sophomore Craig Chick, who was named a first team All-Patriot League honoree on Monday. He currently stands third in the nation in caused turnovers with 36. Classmate and second team All-League honoree Eddie Bouhall had three groundballs on Friday. Pettit was also named second team All-Patriot League as all three sophomores received postseason Patriot League recognition for the first time in their careers.

Meanwhile, Lehigh freshman Conor Gaffney (Lenape) was named Patriot League Faceoff Specialist of the Week on Monday for the third time this season. It marks Gaffney’s seventh weekly award overall, after also winning Rookie of the Week on four other occasions.

Gaffney finished Friday’s 9-6 victory over Bucknell by winning 9-of-19 with six groundballs as a steady force at the faceoff dot. Included was a 3-of-5 effort in the fourth quarter, helping the Mountain Hawks close out the win. For the season, Gaffney has now won 60.5 percent of his faceoffs (127-of-210) with a team-leading 88 groundballs.

Senior Donny Stires continued to impress in goal, stopping 11-of-17 shots sent his way. It marked his fifth straight game with double-figure saves since joining the starting lineup. The win was Lehigh’s first over Bucknell since Mar. 8, 2014 and marked the third time in Lehigh’s last four games that it’s beaten the Bison.

This marks Boston University’s first-ever postseason appearance. The Terriers – coached by Malvern Prep grad Ryan Polley – are 11-3 on the season with one of the losses being to Lehigh. Boston University followed that defeat by dropping a one-goal final at Lafayette, but has since beaten Loyola and Holy Cross at home, both 12-11 finals, and both in overtime.

Boston University opened the season with seven straight wins before dropping a 12-6 final to Bucknell. After wins over Harvard and Lafayette, the Terriers lost to Lehigh and Army before finishing the season with two straight home wins, over Loyola and Holy Cross. Cal Dearth leads Boston University in points with 47 behind 32 goals and 15 assists. Jack Wilson has tallied 41 points (25 goals, 16 assists) while Ryan Hilburn (Malvern Prep) has recorded 29 (14 goals, 15 assists). Faceoff specialist Joe Stucky leads the team with 78 groundballs, winning 54.6 percent of his faceoffs (166-of-304). Dominick Calisto leads the Terriers with 22 caused turnovers. Christian Carson-Banister has been sensational in goal, owning an 8.25 goals against average and .593 save percentage.

Lehigh has won all four all-time meetings against Boston University in the all-time series. The 10-6 win earlier this month was actually the Mountain Hawks’ largest-ever margin of victory against the Terriers. Lehigh won 10-7 in 2014, 10-9 in 2015 and 8-7 in 2016. The last time the teams played in Boston, Chris Appell scored the game-winning goal late in regulation to send the Mountain Hawks home winners.

If the Mountain Hawks win on Tuesday, they would advance to the Patriot League Semifinals and play at top seed Loyola on Friday at 4:30 p.m. on CBS Sports Network.

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