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Men’s D1 roundup: @LafayetteMLAX, @PennStateMLAX gain first wins; @LehighLacrosse is 2-0

Saturday, 10th February 2018

Categories Boy's/Men's, College, Posted 2/10/18
From Press Releases

The Lafayette men’s lacrosse team is off and running with its first win of the 2018 season as the Leopards used a 2-1 fourth-quarter edge to close out NJIT on Saturday afternoon at Drew University in Madi­son, N.J., 10-8.

The Close brothers accounted for 50 percent of the Leopards’ offense on the afternoon as sophomore Adam Close (Wilson) netted three goals to lead the way, while senior Matt Close (Wilson) chipped in with a pair of his own, including a momentum-swinger to end the third quarter. The win moves Lafayette to 1-1 overall heading into its home opener at Fisher Stadium on Friday.

“The team worked hard to earn this win today, a total team effort from top to bottom,” interim head coach Ed Williams said. “It’s nice to get the first one out of the way especially after last weekend. We will come out Monday, learn from our mistakes and turn our focus to the next one.”

It was a tight game throughout as neither team held more than a three-goal lead for all 60 minutes of action. Junior Jonathan Anastos was solid behind an excellent defensive effort, making 12 saves for his second straight 10-plus save performance of the year.

Junior Conor Walters chipped in with two goals and an assist, while senior co-captain Will McCarthy added a goal and an assist as well. Registering the final two markers were sophomore Zane Crandall and freshman John Natoli.

Following an NJIT goal to open the scoring just over a minute in, Lafayette took control of the game with four of the next five, including two from Adam Close to take a 4-2 lead at the start of the second quarter. Natoli’s tally answered a Johnny Madaras marker for the Highlanders midway through the second period, but Ryan Darrow slotted a late marker past Anastos with 29 seconds left in the opening half to send the game into intermission at 5-4.

NJIT had its best run of play to start the second half, scoring three of the four goals in the first 10 minutes of the third quarter to take a 7-6 lead with 4:48 on the clock. Walters answered at the 2:23 mark before Matt Close’s play at the end of the period.

With momentum up for grabs and the clock winding down, the senior fired a missile past the NJIT goalie just before the horn sounded to push Lafayette in front, 8-7, heading into the fourth. That goal sparked everything for the Leopards down the stretch as they added two more goals and held the Highlanders off the board for the final 7:07 to close it out with a final of 10-8.

Shots favored NJIT by a 35-29 margin, while Lafayette force five failed clears on the ride. Sophomore John Becker won 10 of the game’s 19 faceoffs and the Leopards’ pressure caused 17 turnovers compared to 15 miscues for the Maroon and White.

Lehigh 13, Mercer 8

Mercer scored six goals over the game’s first 13:45, but the Mountain Hawks held the Bears to just two over the remaining 46:15, on its way to a win. The Mountain Hawks (2-0) used a 6-0 run to turn a 6-3 deficit into a 9-6 second-quarter lead and extended the lead even further in the second half. Junior Andrew Pettit (Tower Hill-DE) led Lehigh’s offense with three goals, his second straight hat trick to begin the season.

“We had a nice start with a quick transition goal, but then Mercer jumped all over us,” said Lehigh head coach Kevin Cassese. “They scored the next four and put up six in the first quarter and seven at the half. The good news was we held them to one in the second half and our defense really stepped up and answered the call.”

Along with Pettit’s three goals, sophomore Austin Pierce scored a career-high two goals, both on the extra man, while senior John Mehok (Bishop Shanahan) scored twice as well to tie a career high. Juniors Tristan Rai and Lucas Spence (Springfield-Delco) each had three points via a goal and two assists.

Defensively, junior Craig Chick had two goals and four caused turnovers while freshman long-stick midfielder Teddy Leggett tallied five groundballs and two caused turnovers to up his season total to nine groundballs and four caused turnovers through two games.

Mercer used an early 4-0 run, which extended to 6-2, to take a late 6-3 first-quarter advantage. Lehigh responded by scoring twice in the final 34 seconds of the first quarter, as Spence and junior Mickey Fitzpatrick pulled Lehigh within 6-5 after 15 minutes of play.

The Mountain Hawks carried the momentum into the second quarter as Pettit, Pierce, sophomore Parker Kent and Mehok scored to give Lehigh a 9-6 advantage late in the stanza, on its way to a 9-7 halftime advantage.

Both defenses stood tall in the second half with just five combined goals, four from Lehigh. Pierce scored his second extra-man goal midway through the third quarter, Mercer responded early in the fourth, but Lehigh ended the game with three unanswered goals, including the first of the season from sophomore Ryan Klose, to wrap up Lehigh’s second straight 13-8 win to begin the season (after also defeating NJIT 13-8 last Saturday).

For the game, Lehigh held a 42-29 edge in shots while Mercer held a 25-19 edge in groundballs. Freshman goalie James Spence (Springfield-Delco) made eight saves across Mercer’s Bradley Hodoval, who tallied nine.

Sophomore Conor Gaffney (Lenape-NJ) was strong in the faceoff circle, winning 14-of-23 draws with four groundballs.

Penn State 15, Hobart 8

The Nittany Lions used a big second half performance to claim their first win of the season by out-scoring the Statesmen, 8-1, over the final two quarters to take the game in Holuba Hall.

The Nittany Lions trailed Hobart heading into the half, 7-6, but a 4-0 third quarter performance jump-started the Penn State offense, and the home squad never looked back.

Sophomore Mac O’Keefe found his stroke on Saturday, sniping a season-best five goals, adding an assist as well.

Junior Kevin Hill tallied five points on the day, scoring two goals, and adding three assists. Fellow junior Nick Spillane also dished out three dimes, while adding a goal of his own. Senior Ryan Keenan added two goals and an assist, while Matt Donnelly (Clearview Regional-NJ) found the back of the net twice.

Redshirt sophomore Dylan Foulds added two points, tallying a goal and an assist, both on man-up opportunities. Junior defenseman Chris Sabia (Haverford School) had a goal as well as two caused turnovers and a groundballs while LSM Nick Cardile (Avon Grove) had two groundballs and a caused turnover, middie Tripp Traynor (Malvern Prep) had two groundballs and a caused turnover and freshman DEF Brayden Peck (Avon Grove) had two groundballs.

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