Late goal sends Lehigh to a loss in season opener
Posted: February 14, 2009
BETHLEHEM, Pa. – Lehigh dropped a 9-8 heartbreaker to St. Joseph’s on Saturday afternoon in the 2009 season opener at the Ulrich Sports Complex on the new Frank Banko Field. The teams were tied at eight in the closing minute before the Hawks’ Sean Evans took a pass from Alex Lopes and found the back of the net for the game-winner. Senior Ricky Cornetta scored two goals and handed out a pair of assists for the Mountain Hawks while classmate Max Dahlem scored once and totaled two helpers.
St. Joseph’s out shot Lehigh 39 to 37 and totaled 36 ground balls to Lehigh’s 32. Junior Evan Guerrero registered nine caused turnovers on defense for Lehigh, while senior Dan Honeywell totaled six. Morgan Haller finished with eight saves in goal for the Brown and White in what was his first career start, while Guerrero led Lehigh with five ground balls.
Ryan Tessler won 14-of-20 face-offs for the Hawks and also picked up a team-best seven ground balls. Pat Williams caused six turnovers and R.J. Bopf caused four. In goal for St. Joseph’s Erik Hotaling got the start and sent back ten Lehigh shots.
“We were extremely sloppy today,” Lehigh head coach Kevin Cassese explained afterwards. “We did not take care of the ball and had too many turnovers and when you turn the ball over that many times, you’re not going to win many ballgames.” He continued, “St. Joseph’s just beat us today. They deserved the win today; they wanted it more than we did. Teams in Division I Lacrosse are too good that if you don’t come with a full effort, you are going to get beat.”
Cassese then commented on the play of Lehigh’s freshmen. “I thought they played well. Our new faces played like they were new faces. Unfortunately some of our veterans played like new faces too.”
St. Joseph’s got on the board first when Joey D’Avanzo scored at the 4:53 mark of the opening quarter. Freshman Cameron Lao-Gosney tied things up for Lehigh however with his first collegiate score 1:51 later. Chris Lubin then took a feed from Cornett and gave the Mountain Hawks their first lead of the day with 1:15 left in the quarter.
Sean Evans tied the game at two when he scored for the Hawks with 11:36 left before halftime, but Brian Bienemann scored the first of his two goals at the 7:32 mark to put the home team back on top, 3-2. Back-to-back scores by St. Joseph’s propelled the visitors into the lead, 4-3, which is how things would remain at halftime.
Lehigh came out firing in the third quarter, scoring the first three goals, as Cornetta netted a pair and Dahlem found the back of the net once to put the Mountain Hawks up 6-4 with 7:29 left in the quarter. Scott Cullinan scored the quarter’s final goal with 6:15 on the clock, which made the score 6-5 heading into the final 15 minutes of play.
Evans opened the fourth quarter with a goal for the visitors which tied things up at six, but Bienemann and Lubin scored consecutive goals for the Brown and White to make the score 8-6 in favor Lehigh. That was unfortunately the last time Lehigh would score however, as St. Joseph’s netted the game’s final three scores, including Evans game-winner with 34 ticks to go.
Lehigh will return to action on Saturday, February 21 when the Mountain Hawks play host to the Brown Bears at the Ulrich Sports Complex. The opening face-off is set for 1:00 and all of the action will be broadcast live on Lehighsports.com.