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Pettit (Tower Hill), @LehighLacrosse down Colgate, advance to Patriot League semifinals

Wednesday, 25th April 2018

Categories Boy's/Men's, College, Posted 4/25/18
From Press Release

Junior Andrew Pettit (Tower Hill-DE) led the offense with five goals to tie a Patriot League Tournament single-game record, while the Mountain Hawks’ defense held Colgate to a season-low six goals as the fourth-seeded Lehigh men’s lacrosse team (9-6) picked up a convincing 11-6 win over No. 5 seed Colgate on Tuesday evening at the Ulrich Sports Complex.

Lehigh’s Lucas Spence (Courtesy of Lehigh Sports)

With the win, Lehigh advances to the Patriot League Semifinals for the first time since 2014 and will face second-seeded Navy on Friday at 7:30 p.m. at Loyola’s Ridley Athletic Complex.

“It’s been a few months since we had a victory on this field,” said Lehigh head coach Kevin Cassese, whose Mountain Hawks had dropped four straight at home. “The last time we won a game on this field was against Colgate in early March. I feel good for the seniors. It was a tough stretch for them and to have our final game on Banko Field be a victory is tremendous. I’m really happy for our seniors.”

Pettit’s five goals tied a career high. Lehigh assisted on eight of its 11 goals, including all five of Pettit’s markers. Pettit’s first goal came with four seconds remaining in the first quarter, the Mountain Hawks’ second in the span of 25 seconds to turn a 1-0 lead into a 3-0 advantage.

Junior Tristan Rai added four points (one goal, three assists) while senior John Mehok (Bishop Shanahan) had three (one goal, two assists). Junior Lucas Spence (Springfield-Delco) had a goal and assist while senior Ian Strain (Episcopal Academy), junior Mickey Fitzpatrick and sophomore Andrew Eichelberger all had a goal.

Lehigh’s defense was stellar, allowing just three goals over the game’s first 55:23. Even with Colgate going on a late 3-0 run, the Raiders’ six goals marked a season low. Lehigh shut-out Colgate’s top two goal scorers entering the day, Griffin Brown and Mike Hawkins. Sophomore short-stick defensive midfielder Christian McHugh tallied two groundballs and a career-high three caused turnovers. Junior Craig Chick had five groundballs and a caused turnover while classmate Eddie Bouhall recorded two groundballs and two caused turnovers. James Spence (Springfield-Delco) posted 11 saves.

“I really challenged our defense, and our goaltenders, in the short week to come out and play well,” said Cassese. “To hold them to zero in the first quarter was huge. I’m proud of the defense for stepping up big-time today.”

After Colgate pulled within 3-1 early in the second, the Mountain Hawks answered with a 4-0 run bridging the first and second halves. Pettit scored two in the span of 1:23 to give Lehigh a 5-1 lead, then Lucas Spence scored with seven seconds left in the second quarter to give Lehigh a 6-1 lead. Mehok scored just over two minutes into the third to give the Mountain Hawks a 7-1 advantage.

The Raiders scored twice in the span of 11 seconds to get back within 7-3, but the Mountain Hawks went on another 4-0 run, capped off by Pettit’s fifth of the game to give Lehigh an 11-3 lead, on the way to the 11-6 victory.

Final shots were 32-31 in favor of Lehigh while the Raiders held a 36-26 edge in groundballs. Sophomore Conor Gaffney (Lenape) impressed in the faceoff circle, winning 10-of-18, primarily against Colgate’s Colin Orr who was over 60 percent on the season himself entering the day. Lehigh was 1-of-2 on the extra man as the Mountain Hawks are now nine of its last 11 and 17 of its last 22 on the man advantage.

“The urgency that our guys played with was the biggest change I saw tonight from other nights,” said Cassese. “For the seniors, it’s just knowing the finality of it all, that any practice that we have could be the last practice and any game that we have could be the last game. We don’t have a lot of seniors, but they have huge hearts and they’re definitely the driving force of leadership within our program.”

The Mountain Hawks now look ahead to the Patriot League Semifinals on Friday evening. With No. 6 Boston University upsetting No. 3 Bucknell, Lehigh will face second-seeded Navy at 7:30 p.m. on CBS Sports Network.

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