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Strong start sparks @LehighLacrosse past @TigerLacrosse in @HEADstrongFnd benefit game

Tuesday, 11th April 2017

Categories Boy's/Men's, College, Posted 4/11/17
From Press Release

The Lehigh men’s lacrosse team jumped out to a 10-1 lead early in the third quarter and held off a Princeton charge as the Mountain Hawks (6-5) defeated the No. 13/14 Tigers (7-4) 15-10 on Tuesday evening at the Ulrich Sports Complex.

The game was presented by the U.S. Marine Corps and benefited the HEADstrong Foundation. The win marks Lehigh’s second straight home victory against a nationally-ranked foe. Every starting midfielder or attackman recorded multiple points while sophomore Craig Chick helped spearhead the defense with nine groundballs, three caused turnovers, four faceoff wins and an assist. In the end, Lehigh’s defense held the nation’s third highest-scoring offense to just 10 goals, tied for Princeton’s second lowest total this season and five goals less than its average entering the game.

The win marked Lehigh’s second win in the last three years against Princeton, both coming at home against a nationally-ranked Tigers’ squad.

“It was a fun game,” said Lehigh head coach Kevin Cassese. “Hopefully, it’s a big confidence booster for our team. To direct your attention on a nonleague game in the middle of the league season is tough and difficult for both teams. I think our guys had a little bit added motivation.

“We got crushed last year at Princeton and we felt like we needed to make up for that today. Our guys played hard, really executed the game plan well and had fun playing the game. They really played loose and relaxed and I was really excited for them to feel that, especially in the first half.”

Senior Ian Strain (Episcopal Academy) had a career game, tallying a career-high five points behind two goals and a career-high three assists. He also grabbed four groundballs. Sophomore Tristan Rai had three goals and two assists for his 12th career hat trick, eclipsing 50 career goals in the process. Classmate Andrew Pettit (Tower Hill) had two goals and an assist, scoring multiple goals for the 11th time in the last 12 games dating back to last season. Senior Matt Raposo tallied a goal and assist, while senior Cody Triolo and sophomore Lucas Spence (Springfield-Delco) each had two goals and an assist.

With Chick’s nine groundballs, he easily eclipsed 100 career GBs in the contest. Junior Danny Norris (Avon Grove) and sophomore Eddie Bouhall also had three groundballs and two caused turnovers apiece. Senior Casey McAdam won 8-of-18 faceoffs with five groundballs.

“I thought our senior leadership was excellent tonight, which you need when you’re trying to get big wins,” said Cassese. “From our senior midfielders, guys like Ian Strain, Cody Triolo and Anthony Ramaizel had big nights. Senior captain in the goal, Donny Stires, had a strong game.

“Another senior, Casey McAdam stepped in and took 18 draws for us tonight after he had only taken a few draws this year. I thought he was an absolute warrior going up against one of the best groundball guys in the country in Zach Currier. For a guy who hasn’t been asked to do a lot of that this year, I thought he really rose to the occasion and I’m really proud of his effort.”

Princeton’s Michael Sowers (Upper Dublin) broke Kevin Lowe’s 26-year-old school record for points by a freshman with a one-goal, three-assist night, giving him 59 points for the season, four better than Lowe, the Hall-of-Famer with whom Sowers entered the night tied. Sowers also tied the Princeton freshman goals record of 28, set in 2010 by Mike Chanenchuk.

Gavin McBride (Haverford School) had his school-record streak of consecutive games with at least five goals snapped at four, but he still had three goals and an assist. McBride now has at least three goals in 13 of his last 16 games.

Lehigh scored the game’s first five goals as Rai’s second of the game gave the Mountain Hawks a 5-0 advantage with 1:35 remaining in the first quarter. Princeton netted its first with 57 seconds left in the stanza, but the Mountain Hawks responded with the next five. Rai had a goal and assist in that stretch, finishing with five first-half points. Every goal in Lehigh’s 5-0 run was assisted as Raposo from Spence gave the Mountain Hawks a 9-1 advantage at the half.

Freshman Ryan Klose opened the second-half scoring to increase Lehigh’s run to 6-0. Princeton pulled within 10-2 at 11:59 of the third quarter, scoring for the first time in 18:58. The Tigers went on to score six of the next seven goals to extend its run to 7-1 as Gavin McBride pulled Princeton within 11-8 less than a minute into the fourth.

Triolo ended Princeton’s momentum, scoring a big goal to give Lehigh a 12-8 advantage. The Tigers again pulled within three, but Lehigh scored three of the final four goals to win, 15-10.

Final shots were 40-37 in favor of Princeton while the Mountain Hawks held a 37-34 advantage in groundballs. Senior Donny Stires tied a career-high 13 saves across Tyler Blaisdell, who made 10.

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