Phillylacrosse.com, Posted 3/15/18
From Press Release
A back-and-forth game saw four ties, with neither team leading by more than two goals, as No. 18/17 Rutgers scored the game-winning goal with 4:17 remaining to down the No. 16/18 Lehigh men’s lacrosse team 8-7 on a cold and windy Wednesday night at the Ulrich Sports Complex. An even matchup saw nearly identical statistics across the board, which included 25 shots apiece.
“I thought Rutgers deserved to win,” said Lehigh head coach Kevin Cassese. “They played great defense. We struggled to get much of anything going on offense all night. Our defense played well, holding them to eight. We felt like we had to press out a little bit in the second half because we need to create some more opportunities and Rutgers did a good job of taking advantage.”
Wednesday marked just the second time this season that Rutgers was held to single-digit goals. Junior Eddie Bouhall finished with three groundballs to eclipse 100 in his career, while adding two caused turnovers. Classmate Craig Chick had a groundball and caused turnover, moving him to 94 career caused turnovers – within three of tying Tripp Telesco’s school record of 97. Freshman Teddy Leggett had five groundballs, caused a turnover and scored his second-career goal just 13 seconds into the fourth quarter.
“I thought our defense played really well and made some good saves,” said Cassese. “That was working for us. We turned the tide faceoff-wise and got ourselves some possessions, especially late in the second quarter and into the second half. Offensively, we really struggled today.”
Junior Lucas Spence (Springfield-Delco) led Lehigh offensively with two goals, which included the game-tying score with 6:30 remaining in the fourth quarter. Classmate Andrew Pettit (Tower Hill) had a goal and assist.
For the second straight game, Lehigh’s opponent jumped out to a 2-0 lead, but for the second consecutive contest, the Mountain Hawks immediately answered. Sophomore Parker Kent scored in transition at 3:35 of the first quarter to get Lehigh on the board, then senior John Mehok (Bishop Shanahan) tallied his ninth of the season just 1:28 later to pull the Mountain Hawks even after 15 minutes of play.
The second quarter saw just one goal aside. Rutgers took a 3-2 lead at 9:28, but sophomore Andrew Eichelberger scored the equalizer with just eight seconds remaining in the frame to send the game into halftime tied at three.
Pettit scored on the extra man less than two minutes into the third quarter, but the Scarlet Knights reeled off the next three goals to take a 6-4 lead as Rutgers headed to the fourth with a 7-5 advantage.
Leggett scored off the first faceoff of the fourth quarter to pull Lehigh within one, then Spence scored his second at the 6:30 mark to tie the score at seven. However, Rutgers’ Jules Heningburg answered with what proved to be the game-winning goal with 4:17 on the clock.
Final shots were even at 25 while Lehigh held a 26-20 edge in groundballs. Sophomore Conor Gaffney (Lenape) bounced back from winning 2-of-7 faceoffs in the third quarter to win all four in the fourth, finishing 11-of-19 for the game. Freshman James Spence (Springfield-Delco) made seven saves, five of which were in the middle two quarters.
“We have a great level of compete,” said Cassese. “We didn’t have our best tonight, but our guys competed until the end and even found a way to get the ball in our stick with 10 seconds left, despite being down a man. I’m not so sure we deserved to have the opportunity to tie it up tonight with the way we played and the way they played. But I like our team; they’re always battling and competing.”
The Mountain Hawks will now head to rival Lafayette on Saturday to face the Leopards. Opening faceoff is set for 1 p.m.