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Philly grads help @LehighLacrosse earn big Patriot League win over BU

Sunday, 2nd April 2017

Categories Boy's/Men's, College, Posted 4/1/17
From Press Release

Despite falling into an early 2-0 deficit, the Lehigh men’s lacrosse team scored eight of the next nine goals, on its way to a 10-6 win over No. 16/18 Boston University on Saturday afternoon at the Ulrich Sports Complex.

The win marks the Mountain Hawks’ (5-4, 3-3 Patriot League) first over a nationally-ranked opponent since defeating the No. 20 Terriers in Boston last season. In the end, Lehigh’s defense held the Terriers to just six goals, tied for their season low, only three of them being even strength. The Mountain Hawks handed Boston University (9-2, 3-2) just its second loss of the season.

“This is a great win for our team,” said Lehigh head coach Kevin Cassese. “I thought last week, we got dominated in a big game. We forced our backs up against the wall. This week, we practiced about as hard as we’ve practiced in a long time. I really challenged them. Our Monday practice was the best one we’ve had in years around here and I challenged them to play just like that today, and they did.”

Sophomore Tristan Rai led the offense with five points behind three goals and two assists. He has now tallied a hat trick and at least five points in each of the last three games, recording nine goals and seven assists in that span. Classmate Andrew Pettit (Tower Hill-DE) also scored twice to extend his streak to 10 straight games with multiple goals dating back to last season. He remains the only player in all of Division I with multiple goals in every game this season.

Senior Matt Raposo also recorded three points (two goals, one assist). Lehigh’s starting attack, which as a unit, stood 11th nationally in points entering today, finished with 11 points (seven goals, four assists) on the day.

Sophomores Eddie Bouhall and Craig Chick led the defense as Bouhall had a career-high six groundballs along with four caused turnovers (to tie a career high) while Chick had three groundballs and four caused turnovers.

Also, freshman defenseman Erik DiGirolamo (Parkland) scored a goal and reserve face-off specialist Brian Meyer (Harriton) came off the bench to win 3 of 5 draws in a key part of the game in his first extended time. Meyer was needed after starter Conor Gaffney (Lenape-NJ) suffered an injury. Alsom Ian Strain (Episcopal Academy) had an assist and three groundballs.

For BU, LSM Greg Wozniak (Holy Ghost Prep) had four groundballs and two caused turnovers while Greg Farris (Southern Lehigh) each scored once and Ryan Hilburn had two assists.

“We were not clean at all today, but the one thing we did is play with relentless effort,” said Cassese. “When you’re going to do that for a full four quarters, you’re going to give yourself a chance to win and obviously, we were able to come out on top today.”

After Boston University took a 2-0 lead with 11:09 left in the first quarter, goals from Rai and Pettit in the span of 32 seconds pulled Lehigh even with 5:22 remaining in the first. The Terriers scored with just 18 seconds remaining left in the stanza, but the Mountain Hawks went on to score six straight goals. Junior Nolan Apers began the run with his first goal of the season, freshman Erik DiGirolamo later scored his first-career goal and Rai netted two goals in the run.

In the end, Lehigh’s defense held the Terriers scoreless for 29:26 before the Terriers would add two man-up goals to pull within 8-5 early in the fourth. But three was as close as Boston U would come. Senior Cody Triolo rounded out the scoring at 3:28 of the fourth quarter, accounting for the 10-6 final

“We executed a pretty solid game plan in order to prevent them from coming back,” said Cassese. “I give our guys a lot of credit. I thought the defense stood really tall and we got great play out of our senior captain Donny Stires in goal. He was huge for us in the second half. I give him a lot of credit and I give our defense a lot of credit, too.”

Stires finished with a career-high 13 saves, 10 coming in the second half. Boston University finished with a 36-30 edge in shots and 42-28 advantage in groundballs. Freshman Gaffney won 3-of-6 faceoffs before being forced to leave the game due to injury.

“I think we showed tremendous maturity this week,” said Cassese. “It would’ve been easy for our guys to get rattled when our top faceoff guy went out early in the game. Something that we preach around here is that we’re going to meet adversity. We have to be ready to deal with it. I thought that our guys dealt with it well.”

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