WEST POINT, N.Y. - The Lehigh men’s lacrosse team hung tough against defending Patriot League Champion, No. 8/9 Army, but the Black Knights proved too much as they downed the Mountain Hawks (4-4, 1-1 PL), 12-9, on Tuesday evening. Lehigh took a 7-6 lead midway through the third quarter, but three goals in a 20-second span gave Army a lead it wouldn’t relinquish.
“I’m really, really proud of my guys,” said Lehigh head coach Kevin Cassese. “This has been a draining couple of days emotionally with the passing of Dan Carr Sr. Our thoughts and prayers are with the Carr family at this time. I’m proud of our guys’ effort and the grit they showed; they were able to come here and show great focus against the top team in the league.”
Down 6-3 towards the beginning of the second quarter, the Mountain Hawks ended the half on a 3-0 run to pull even after 30 minutes. Senior Will Scudder put the finishing touches on the rally, winning the faceoff and going all the way for his third-career goal, much like sophomore Ryan Snyder had done in the first quarter.
The run continued into the second as Lehigh extended Army’s scoreless drought to 20:22. On the other end of the field, junior Cameron Lao-Gosney scored the first goal of the half, taking a feed from senior Jonathan Stumpf for the man-up goal at 6:13 to make it 7-6 in favor of Lehigh.
Not to be forgotten was sophomore Dan Carr, who played a stellar game in goal, tying a season-high with 11 saves, including many sensational stops to preserve Army’s long scoreless drought.
A balanced scoring attack saw four different Mountain Hawks finish with multiple points. Sophomore David DiMaria led the way with four behind two goals and two assists while Dante Fantoni added two (one goal, one assist). In the process, they each extended their point streaks to 18 and 20 games, respectively. Cameron Lao-Gosney scored two goals for his sixth straight multi-goal game.
Jeremy Boltus – the Patriot League Preseason Offensive Player of the Year – led the way for Army with seven points via three goals and four assists.
“I was very impressed with Army,” said Cassese. “They’re tough and athletic. They made us pay on the mistakes we made in the middle of the field. That’s what a good team does to win a tough league game.
“I hope we can keep playing hard and get focused to do what we need to do in the league so we hopefully get a chance to see [Army] again down the road,” Cassese continued.
After strong defense in the early going, sophomore Noah Molnar converted Lehigh’s first offensive opportunity into a goal at 10:37 of the first quarter. Snyder followed by winning the ensuing faceoff and going all the way to beat Army goalie Tom Palesky low only six seconds later.
The Black Knight answered with three straight goals to finish the quarter as a Devin Lynch tally with four seconds on the clock made it 3-2 after 15 minutes of play.
Lehigh tied the score at three just 45 seconds into the second quarter as Fantoni took a nifty feed from senior Stumpf and beat Palesky for the man-up goal at 14:15. The Black Knights came back with three straight tallies, though, as a Boltus score made it 6-3 at 12:20 before the Mountain Hawks made a run of their own to pull even at six.
After Cameron Lao-Gosney made it 7-6 in the third quarter, Army pulled even only 15 seconds later on a Boltus marker. The Black Knights then scored three goals in a 20-second span to take a 10-7 lead after three quarters of play.
Boltus added his third of the game at 7:05 to make it 11-7, but Lehigh wouldn’t quit as junior Adam Johnson and DiMaria answered with the next two goals, but that’s as close as the Mountain Hawks would get. Army found the open net with 2:02 remaining to seal the 12-9 final.
The Black Knights held a 31-23 edge in shots and 32-28 in groundballs. Army’s Derek Sipperly impressed at the faceoff X, winning 15-of-25 to hold Lehigh’s dynamic duo of Snyder and Scudder at bay. Lehigh was a perfect 2-for-2 on man-up opportunities while Army was 1-for-1.
Lehigh returns to Patriot League action on Saturday for its final road game of the regular season at Holy Cross. Opening faceoff is set for 12 p.m. The Mountain Hawks return to the Ulrich Sports Complex for their first of six straight home games to end the regular season, when they host Binghamton next Tuesday (Mar. 29) at 7 p.m.