PHILADELPHIA, Pa. – Two goals from junior Caitlin Donnelly weren’t enough as the Lehigh field hockey team fell just short of its second straight road win, dropping a 3-2 final to La Salle on Saturday. The Mountain Hawks took a 1-0 lead midway through the first half, but the Explorers answered with three consecutive tallies to take a lead they wouldn’t relinquish.
“I thought we fought really hard in the second half,” said head coach Julie Mazer. “We came back and were playing strong, but we need to play a complete game. We need to take advantage of our corner opportunities. I saw many positives, but we need that from the beginning.”
Donnelly’s two scores marked her second multi-goal game of the season (and career), and Lehigh’s second in as many games. She is now tied with junior Madison Ingal for the team lead with five goals, all coming in the last four games.
“Caitlin Donnelly has been working tirelessly on a daily basis,” said Mazer. “She works hard in practice and every minute on the field. All the hard work from the time she put on a brown and white uniform is paying off now.
“I couldn’t be more proud of her,” continued Mazer. “We’re looking forward to her continuing [the success] in the league schedule. She’s really coming into her own and it’s really nice to see.”
After a scoreless first 20 minutes, a flurry of activity saw three goals in the span of 5:45. Donnelly broke the ice with her fourth goal of the season at 21:45. After her initial shot was saved by Emma Ruth, she corralled the rebound and put it past the La Salle goalkeeper to make it 1-0 in favor of the Mountain Hawks.
Just as quickly as Lehigh scored, La Salle answered back only 40 seconds later when Maddie Doub deflected a Rebecca Chylack shot past Mountain Hawk goalkeeper Jessica Miller to even the score at one.
The Explorers took the lead at 27:32 when Chylack scored her first of the day, beating Miller, just inside the far post off a penalty corner to make it 2-1.
Chylack added her second at 41:27 to give La Salle a 3-1 advantage, but the Mountain Hawks continued to fight back. It paid off when Donnelly scored her second at 62:15 to pull Lehigh back within one. It came off a deflection from senior Claire Horn’s original shot.
Looking for the game-tying score, Lehigh poured on the pressure and forced La Salle to take a timeout with just 3:02 remaining. The Mountain Hawks did put forward one final rush with just under a minute remaining. After forcing a penalty corner, junior Abby Tilton unleashed a shot which was saved by Ruth to preserve the 3-2 final.
Final shots were tied at 17 while Miller and Ruth both made eight saves. Lehigh also forced 12 corners, just one shy of its season-high set last time out at Siena.
The Mountain Hawks return to action next Saturday when they host No. 15 American in the Patriot League Opener. Gametime is set for 11 a.m. at Ulrich Field.
“I think we need to take the best parts of this game and utilize those for 70 minutes to play a complete game against American,” said Mazer. “Because that’s the effort we’ll need against them.”