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.@LehighLacrosse cracks top 20; Pettit, Chick, Gaffney, Spence earn weekly honors

Monday, 12th March 2018

Categories Boy's/Men's, College, Posted 3/12/18
From Press Release

Following an exciting 9-7 win at No. 12 Army West Point Saturday, four members of the Lehigh men’s lacrosse team have earned Patriot League weekly awards while the Mountain Hawks have jumped into the national polls for the first time since 2015.

Lehigh award winners (from left) Andrew Pettit, Craig Chick, Conor Gaffney, James Spence

Juniors Andrew Pettit (Tower Hill) and Craig Chick were named the league’s Offensive and Defensive Players of the Week, respectively, sophomore Conor Gaffney (Lenape-NJ) was named Faceoff Specialist of the Week and freshman James Spence (Springfield-Delco, 2017 Co-Player of the Year) garnered Goalie of the Week. Also on Monday, the Mountain Hawks were ranked No. 16 in the Maverick Media Poll and 17 in the USILA Coaches Poll as Lehigh jumped into the national rankings for the first time in more than three years.

Lehigh was also ranked No. 14 in this week’s Nike/U.S. Lacrosse Division I Men’s Top 20. The last time the Mountain Hawks were nationally-ranked, they stood No. 20 in the Feb. 23, 2015 Maverick Media Poll.

Pettit earned a Patriot League weekly award for the first time in his career after tying a career-high five goals at Army. Pettit’s five goals were most by one player against the Black Knights’ defense since Pat Spencer of Loyola scored five on May 1, 2016. It was the most by an opponent at Army since Zach Herreweyers of Loyola scored six on March 14, 2015.

Pettit’s goals came at critical times; he scored two of Lehigh’s first three goals as the Mountain Hawks staged a 4-0 run to turn an early 2-0 deficit into a 4-2 lead. With Lehigh trailing 6-5 heading into the fourth, Pettit recorded a natural hat trick, scoring three straight goals. He tied the score 6-6 at the 11:02 mark, gave Lehigh a 7-6 lead at 9:18 and gave Lehigh an 8-6 advantage at 8:42.

Pettit helped the Mountain Hawks score nine goals against an Army defense allowing just 6.6 per game entering the contest; the Black Knights entered the game fourth nationally in scoring defense. Pettit has multiple goals in all six games this season and 19 of his last 21 games dating back to his freshman season. Pettit currently owns 28 points on the year (19 goals, nine assists). He stands seventh nationally and No. 1 in the Patriot League averaging 3.20 goals per game.

Earning his third-career Patriot League weekly award and second-career Defensive Player of the Week honor, Chick finished Saturday with seven groundballs and three caused turnovers, serving as a disruptor of Army’s offense all game. Chick and the Lehigh defense held the Black Knights to a season-low seven goals, two fewer goals than its previous season low of nine vs. Rutgers. The Mountain Hawks held the Black Knights almost six goals fewer than their average entering the game (12.80).

Lehigh’s defense held Army scoreless for three long stretches on Saturday: 10:10, 15:16 and 11:39. With his three caused turnovers, Chick moved into a tie for 18th place in NCAA history with 93 career turnovers. He is just four from tying the Lehigh record and 13 from tying the Patriot League record. For the season, Chick owns 21 groundballs and 16 caused turnovers, which is tied for third in the nation.

The award for Gaffney marks his ninth-career weekly award and fifth-career Faceoff Specialist of the Week honor. On Saturday, the sophomore won 12-of-20 faceoffs to help Lehigh control possession. He won 9-of-16 over the final three quarters, including 6-of-8 in the middle two stanzas. The effort came primarily against Army’s John Ragno, who entered the day winning 65.3 percent of his faceoffs on the season. Gaffney added three groundballs to reach 38 on the year. For the season, has won 58.6 percent of his faceoffs (78-of-133), 21st in the nation.

Spence was named Patriot League Goalie of the Week for the first time in his career. The Springfield, Pa. native stopped 9-of-16 shots sent his way (56 percent), holding Army to a season-low seven goals. Spence made two saves in the first quarter, two in the second, three in the third and two in the fourth. Included were two big stops in the final minute of the third to help the Mountain Hawks kill a two-minute nonreleasable penalty, keeping them within one heading into the fourth quarter. Spence owns a 7.52 goals against average and 0.547 save percentage on the year.

The Mountain Hawks return home this Wednesday for a big home contest against No. 18/16 Rutgers. Opening faceoff is set for 7 p.m. on the Patriot League Network.

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