BETHLEHEM, Pa. - The Lehigh men’s lacrosse team snapped a two-game losing streak in a big way, jumping out to a 5-0 lead before outscoring Presbyterian, 8-0 in the second half on its way to a convincing 17-4 victory on a sunny Saturday afternoon. A strong all-around effort saw seven Mountain Hawks (4-3, 1-0 Patriot League) finish with multiple points, while the defense held the Blue Hose scoreless for the game’s final 37:33.
The four goals allowed marks the fewest since a 7-3 win over St. John’s in 2008 while the 13-goal margin of victory is the Mountain Hawks’ largest since a 15-2 win over Siena in 2005.
“I thought our guys came out ready to play,” said Lehigh head coach Kevin Cassese. “Jumping out to the early lead was key. A number of people stepped up today, which was nice.”
Junior Cameron Lao-Gosney led the way with five points behind two goals and a career-high three assists. He has now recorded five straight multi-goal games. Sophomores Dante Fantoni (four goals), David DiMaria (two goals, two assists) and Alex Drake (two goals, two assists) were right behind with four apiece while three others finished with multiple points - sophomore Kyle Stiefel (two goals), junior Adam Johnston (one goal, one assist) and senior Jonathan Stumpf (two assists). Fantoni’s hat trick was the seventh of his career while DiMaria posted his seventh-career multi-goal game. In the process, they also extended their point streaks to 19 and 17 games, respectively.
Stiefel proved to be an early catalyst as he took a feed from Drake and converted his first-career goal to give Lehigh a 2-0 lead at 10:16 of the first quarter. He later added his second at 4:32 of the second quarter to put the Mountain Hawks up, 8-4.
“We got a great spark from Kyle,” said Cassese. “He came in and filled a key role on our second midfield line. He gave us a physical presence at that position. After hard work on our scout team, it’s great to see him contribute [in game action].”
The Mountain Hawks took an early 5-0 lead, but Presbyterian came back with the first three of the second quarter to trim a 6-1 lead down to 6-4. Lehigh responded from that point forward, netting the game’s final 11 goals to run away with the victory. Sophomore Noah Molnar scored just 25 seconds into the second half to set the tone for a dominant final 30 minutes
Lehigh was stellar at faceoffs, and at the defensive end, to limit Presbyterian’s offensive opportunities. Sophomore Ryan Snyder had a strong bounceback game at the x, winning 13-of-15 draws while scooping nine groundballs. He has now won 91-of-131 (70 percent) for the season. Senior Will Scudder also won 5-of-6 while freshman Ryan Buttenbaum won 2-of-3.
The Mountain Hawks forced 18 Blue Hose turnovers, while a trio of goalies combined to make five saves to hold Presbyterian at bay. Sophomore Dan Carr played the first three quarters and got the win while sophomore Griffin Farha was sensational in relief, making four stops in his collegiate debut. Senior Morgan Haller played the final 3:56.
Sophomore Carlton Fisher and freshman Matt Risk each scored their first-career goals to account for the fourth-quarter scoring. Sophomore Brian Hess also scored his second-career goal to go along with three groundballs.
Final shots were 48-12 in favor of Lehigh while the Mountain Hawks finished with 42 groundballs to 22 for Presbyterian. Lehigh was a perfect 14-of-14 on clears while the Blue Hose were 12-of-22. The Mountain Hawks were 2-of-4 on man-up opportunities while Presbyterian finished 1-of-2.
The Mountain Hawks return to Patriot League action next week for their final two road games of the regular season. Lehigh travels to No. 13 Army on Tuesday (7 p.m.) before heading to Holy Cross on Saturday (12 p.m.).
“Army is really tough,” said Cassese. “It’s a tough place to play; they’ll be ready to go. We need to continue to work on the basics. We’ll need our youngsters to mature quickly to get a win on Tuesday.”
The Mountain Hawks will then return to the Ulrich Sports Complex for their first of six straight home games to end the regular season, when they host Binghamton on Tuesday, Mar. 29 at 7 p.m.