Phillylacrosse.com, Posted 3/12/19
From Press Release
Joel Trucksess (Haverford School) made a major impact at the faceoff X to spark Lehigh to a 13-10, come-from-behind win over host and No. 15 Rutgers Tuesday night.
Rutgers scored four straight goals bridging the second and third quarters to take an 8-5 lead, but No. 16 Lehigh staged a furious comeback, using two separate four-goal runs to down the Scarlet Knights at HighPoint.com Stadium.
Lehigh ended the third quarter with four straight goals over the final 3:10 before ending the fourth with a 4-0 run in the final 5:50 to pick up the program’s first win over Rutgers since 1961. Senior Alexander Tumminello led the offense with a career-high four goals while classmate Lucas Spence (Springfieeld-Delco) had two goals and two assists, but it was freshman Tommy Schelling who scored what proved to be the game-winner with 2:19 remaining.
Trucksess, the backup to standout Conor Gaffney (Lanape, 8 of 17 faceoffs), won 8 of 10 faceoffs and had a goal and four groundballs.
“In the first half, we truly got outplayed,” said Lehigh head coach Kevin Cassese. “I thought they were tougher than us, they were coming up with every big groundball and they were dominating the faceoff.
“They had a really good plan in the faceoff circle. I thought they were defending us extremely tightly. We really challenged our guys at halftime to step up and I was really proud of the way they did. Even when Rutgers went on a run in the third quarter, we brought it together and said listen, either we can pack this thing up, go home and call it a day, or we can be the Lehigh Lacrosse men that I know they are and show up.
“Boy did they show up down the stretch.”
A number of Mountain Hawks stepped up as Lehigh won its third straight game, all coming in the last 11 days, and all against ranked opponents. It marks the first time the Mountain Hawks have beaten three straight ranked foes since 2013, but that wasn’t in three consecutive games.
Sophomore Trucksess scored the goal as well to pull Lehigh within 8-7, just 12 seconds after senior Craig Chick snapped the Mountain Hawks’ 18:36 scoreless drought to pull them within two. Chick led the defense with three groundballs and two caused turnovers. Anchoring the defense was sophomore goaltender James Spence (Springfield-Delco), who made a career-high 17 saves.
The teams traded the game’s first six goals, with the Mountain Hawks holding 1-0, 2-1 and 3-2 leads. Rutgers responded with two straight to take its first lead at 4-3, but senior Mickey Fitzpatrick scored his second of the half at 10:02 of the second quarter to pull even at four. Tumminello’s second came at the 6:46 mark, giving the Mountain Hawks a 5-4 edge.
The Scarlet Knights came right back with the final two goals of the half, extending the run to 4-0 into the third quarter, as Rutgers opened an 8-5 advantage. That’s when Chick caused a turnover on one end and scored a goal just moments later on the other. Lehigh followed with goals from Trucksess, Tumminello and Spence to take a 9-8 lead into the fourth quarter. Tumminello’s third came with 52 seconds remaining and Spence’s came with just five seconds on the clock.
Rutgers scored twice in 43 seconds in the fourth quarter to open a 10-9 edge, but the Mountain Hawks wouldn’t go down quietly. Spence made a move in front of the goal and finished at 5:50 to even the score at 10.
Schelling added the game-winner at 2:19 then the Mountain Hawks got insurance goals from Tumminello at 1:21, and junior Christian McHugh at the 30-second mark, to wrap up the 13-10 victory.
Final shots were 45-34 in favor of Rutgers while the Scarlet Knights held a 39-36 edge in groundballs, but Lehigh held a 10-5 advantage in the fourth quarter.
“Thoughts are with two of our boys who had knee surgery early this morning, Andrew Pettit and John Chace,” said Cassese. “They’re both doing really well. They’re recovering. Just want to give a shutout to those guys. We really felt their presence here tonight.”
The Mountain Hawks return to Patriot League play as they host rival Lafayette on Sunday, Mar. 17 at 1 p.m.