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Lehigh routs Lafayette, 15-7, for 10th straight over Leopards

Sunday, 17th March 2019

Categories Boy's/Men's, College, Posted 3/17/19
From Press Release

The No. 16 Lehigh men’s lacrosse team jumped out to a 4-0 lead after one quarter and Lafayette didn’t get any closer than four as the Mountain Hawks picked up their 10th straight win over archrival and visiting Lafayette, downing the Leopards 15-7 on Sunday afternoon.

The 10 straight wins ties the school-record winning streak against Lafayette. Senior Tristan Rai led the Lehigh offense with seven points (four goals, three assists), tying his previous high set last season against the Leopards. The Mountain Haws’ fourth straight win overall marks their longest since the 2014 season; they improve to 5-3 overall and 3-0 in league play heading into a showdown at Navy on Saturday.

Lehigh’s James Spence (Photos by Rene Schleicher)

“I was proud of the start,” said Lehigh head coach Kevin Cassese. “Our guys had a fast start today and they were certainly ready to play, and I thought that would be key. We were coming off a few emotional wins. Being able to gear it back up for this one, it helped that it was Lafayette. Being a school-wide rival is always important.”

Along with Rai’s seven points, classmate Lucas Spence (Springfield-Delco) had six (three goals, three assists) while senior Alexander Tumminello had three goals for his second straight hat trick and third of his career, all coming this season. All three goals came on the extra man. Senior Mickey Fitzpatrick had a hand in Lehigh’s first three goals of the afternoon, finishing with a goal and two assists.

Senior Craig Chick helped anchor the defense with a groundball and three caused turnovers, moving him to 137 in his career. Spence and freshman Michael Hagenberger caused two turnovers apiece. Junior Conor Gaffney (Lenape, NJ) was 15-of-18 facing off with 11 groundballs, while also recording his first point of the season – an assist.

Bryan Hess had two goals and an assist for Lafayette (4-5, 0-3)

“I was most proud of our midfield play in between the lines,” said Cassese. “We did a great job off the faceoff and in transition, creating some opportunities in the clearing game against their ride. That’s when we were able to break the game open, creating some opportunities that way.”

Fitzpatrick opened the scoring then found Rai for Lehigh’s second and third goals, before a man-up tally from Tumminello gave Lehigh a 4-0 lead after one quarter of play.

Lafayette had two of the first three second-quarter scores, but the Mountain Hawks responded with four goals over the final 2:47. The first two from Spence came in the span of 34 seconds, before freshman Cole Kirst and junior Andrew Eichelberger got into the act, to help Lehigh take a 9-3 halftime advantage.

The Leopards scored the first two of the third quarter to pull within 9-5, but Lehigh again answered. The Mountain Hawks scored four times in the span of 2:48 to go ahead 13-5 after three, then extended the run to 6-0 in the fourth with a goal from Tumminello and the first-career goal from senior William Gunn. Gunn’s scoring with 5:50 remaining gave Lehigh a 15-5 edge, on the way to the 15-7 final.

Final shots were 41-29 in favor of Lehigh while the Mountain Hawks held a 52-30 edge in groundballs. Sophomore James Spence (Springfield-Delco) made seven saves before being replaced by junior Colin Kirst, who stopped three of four sent his way. Senior Chris Kiernan also saw his first action of the season, playing the final 3:12. Lehigh was 3-of-5 on the extra man while Lafayette finished 2-of-7.

The Mountain Hawks will hit the road this Saturday (Mar. 23) to face Navy at 12 p.m.

“It has been a long stretch for us here, a lot of emotional games back-to-back,” said Cassese. “Hopefully we can catch our breath a little bit, hit the reset button, get back after it and do all the work we can to get ready for Navy.”

Lehigh’s Conor Gaffney

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