Posted: April 2, 2009
BETHLEHEM, Pa – Sophomore Collin Laffey pulled out a three-set win over Doug Gallagher at No. 2 singles to lead Lehigh to a come-from-behind 4-3 win over rival Lafayette Thursday on the Ulrich Varsity Courts. The Mountain Hawks lost the doubles point and eventually trailed 3-1 before rallying with wins at first and fifth singles, setting up the winner-take-all third set between Laffey and Gallagher. The victory is the first Patriot League win for the Mountain Hawks who are now 6-13 overall and 1-2 in league matches.
Laffey won the first set easily, but dropped the second set 7-5. Up a break at 4-2, Laffey won a marathon game to go up 5-2 and eventually won the third set on his serve with the final score of 6-3.
“That’s what being a part of the Lehigh-Lafayette rivalry is about,” explained Laffey. “It’s a great feeling to pull out a win against them. In that third set I was just trying to take it one point at a time. The support I received from my teammates was tremendous and really helped me out.”
Lafayette picked up wins at No. 2 and No. 3 doubles to take a 1-0 lead in the match. Lehigh’s lone doubles win was at first doubles where Laffey and sophomore Troy List were victorious over Eric Wiley and Lee Kojanis.
The Leopards extended their lead when Steven Benezra beat freshman Leland Richardson 6-3, 6-1 at No. 3 singles. Freshman Edgars Rauza put Lehigh on the board with a straight set win over Lee Kojanis at fourth singles, but Lafayette moved within a point of clinching the match when Kyle MacLelland beat J.T. Bolcar at No. 6 singles.
Lehigh’s comeback began at No. 1 singles, where List won the first set and dropped the second, before rallying to knock off Eric Wiley 6-3, 1-6, 6-3. At No. 5 singles, sophomore Arnaldo Pacheco evened the team score at 3-3 after coming from behind to defeat James Murphy 1-6, 6-3, 6-2.
Laffey’s win in the deciding match at No. 2 singles gave Lehigh its fourth win in five years versus Lafayette. The Mountain Hawks are now 15-3-1 versus their archrivals across the board in all sports this year.
“In 20 years I’ve been in a lot of matches like the one we had today,” said Lehigh head coach Dave Shook. “To come back and win it like we did, against a team like Lafayette was a great thing. I’m so proud of our guys.”
With the loss, Lafayette falls to 6-5, 0-1 in the Patriot League.
The Mountain Hawks will return to the courts on Saturday when they host Patriot League rival Navy. Action gets underway at 12 p.m. from the Ulrich Varsity Courts.
Lehigh 4, Lafayette 3
1. List/Laffey (LU) def. Wiley/Kojanis (LC) 6-5, retired
2. Gallagher/MacLelland (LC) def. Richardson/Rauza (LU) 8-6
3. Murphy/Morris (LC) def. Pacheco/Silbert (LU) 8-5
1. Troy List (LU) def. Eric Wiley (LC) 6-3, 1-6, 6-3
2. Collin Laffey (LU) def. Doug Gallagher (LC) 6-2, 5-7, 6-3
3. Steven Benezra (LC) def. Leland Richardson (LU) 6-3, 6-1
4. Edgars Rauza (LU) def. Lee Kojanis (LC) 6-0, 6-3
5. Arnaldo Pacheco (LU) def. James Murphy (LC) 1-6, 6-3, 6-2
6. Kyle MacLelland (LC) def. J.T. Bolcar (LU) 7-6, 6-3