Phillylacrosse.com, Posted 3/17/18
From Press Release
The No. 16/17 Lehigh men’s lacrosse team broke out for 11 goals in the span of 11:14 in the second quarter, on its way to an impressive 19-11 win at archrival Lafayette on Saturday afternoon. The Mountain Hawks’ starting attackmen combined for 18 points (eight goals, nine assists) while sophomore Conor Gaffney (Lenape) won 17-of-20 faceoffs, all in the first half, to help spark the second-quarter surge. The win improves Lehigh’s record to 6-2, including 4-0 in the Patriot League for the first time since 2013. The Mountain Hawks and Loyola are currently the only two undefeated teams in league play.
“In the first quarter, we did some nice things on offense, but struggled a little bit on defense,” said Lehigh head coach Kevin Cassese. “Lafayette took advantage of that. Conor really got it going in the second quarter and we were able to play make it, take it on the offensive end. Go down, score a goal, win the faceoff and score a goal. That led to the huge run in the second quarter.”
As a team, Lehigh won 27 faceoffs on the day (compared to just six losses), which is the most faceoff wins in a game by any team in the nation this season. The Mountain Hawks’ 19 goals tied for the third most in the country in 2018.
Junior Tristan Rai posted a career-high seven points to lead the offense (three goals, career-high tying four assists). Classmate Lucas Spence (Springfield-Delco) tied a career-high six points (four goals, two assists) while junior Andrew Pettit (Tower Hill) had five points (two goals, three assists). Another junior, Mickey Fitzpatrick, also tied a career high with three goals.
Defensively, junior Craig Chick had a groundball and two caused turnover to move to 96 in his career, within one of tying Tripp Telesco’s school record. Freshman Teddy Leggett continued his strong play, recording two groundballs and two caused turnovers.
Fitzpatrick scored two of Lehigh’s first three goals as the Mountain Hawks took a quick 3-0 advantage just 5:35 into the game. Lafayette responded with two straight, three of the next four and four of the next six to pull within 5-4 with 11:12 remaining in the second quarter. The second quarter featured 11 Mountain Hawk goals, including eight in a row to end the stanza. Leading 7-5 with less than six minutes remaining, Spence scored three goals in the span of 35 seconds, the last on the extra man to give Lehigh a 10-5 lead with 4:36 on the clock.
The Mountain Hawks went on to score five more, which included the first-career goal from freshman Joel Trucksess (Haverford School), who won the faceoff and went in all alone to give Lehigh a 14-5 lead with 1:49 remaining. Rai capped off the run just 19 seconds later to give the Mountain Hawks a 15-5 halftime advantage. In the end, Lehigh’s 8-0 run happened in the span of just 3:41.
The Leopards tallied the first three goals of the second half, but sophomore Andrew Eichelberger scored his second of the game with 28 seconds remaining in the third quarter, sparking a 4-1 Mountain Hawks’ run. Pettit added a man-up goal in the fourth quarter while sophomores Jackson Monnin and Austin Pierce also scored to give Lehigh a 19-9 lead, on its way to the 19-11 victory.
For the game, the Mountain Hawks held a 39-28 edge in shots and 37-26 advantage in groundballs. Lehigh was 3-of-4 on the extra man. Gaffney added 10 groundballs to go with his 17-of-20 performance in the faceoff circle.
“Conor is an absolute warrior and it’s not just him; it’s the wings as well,” said Cassese. “Offensively, we did a really good job. We talked a lot coming off that loss to Rutgers on Wednesday when we only put up seven goals. I thought we played really selfish lacrosse on the offensive end. Today, we played very unselfish lacrosse.
Along with Gaffney, Trucksess finished 7-of-10 while junior Brian Meyer (Harriton) was a perfect 3-of-3. Freshman James Spence (Springfield-Delco) made five first-half saves while sophomore Colin Kirst and junior Chris Kiernan made two stops apiece in the second half.
“The biggest thing about today is obviously beating our school-wide rival,” said Cassese. “Anytime you get Lehigh and Lafayette together, it will be highly-contested and we were prepared for that today.”