BETHLEHEM, Pa. - Behind a stellar defensive effort coupled with timely scoring, the Lehigh women’s lacrosse team posted a convincing 13-6 win over American on Saturday. The Mountain Hawks’ defense stole the show, allowing only six goals to an Eagles’ squad which averaged 12.6 coming in. With its fourth straight win, Lehigh improves to 7-4 overall and 3-1 in Patriot League play while American falls to 6-5 and 2-2 in the league.
The game had major implications in the Patriot League standings as both squads entered with identical records. It was also Lehigh’s Pink Zone Game in support of breast cancer awareness.
‘It was a must-win as far as momentum, especially with a lot of stuff going on within the league in terms of upsets,” said Lehigh head coach Jill Redfern. “In the end, we have to take care of own business, and we did that today.”
A balanced offensive effort saw senior Lauren Dykstra score four goals to up her season total to 47. Sophomores Megan Kelly and Anna Patterson each added three. Ironically, all three of Patterson’s goals came in the first half while Kelly’s scoring all came in the second. Seniors Allison Thomas (one goal, one assist) and Kelly Draper (two assists) each added two points.
Freshman Alexandra Fitzpatrick was sensational between the pipes, making 14 saves, just nine days after making a career-high 16 at Temple. Eleven of her stops came in the second half to help eliminate any comeback hopes the Eagles may have had.
“American had to press for goals, so they were going hard and got a lot of shots off,” said Redfern. “Fitzpatrick was up to the task and completely turned them back. That gave us a huge spark. Our defense dug the ball out well off her saves; we had some great efforts on the groundballs.”
Junior Leigh Ann Torcivia impressed with a game-high five groundballs and three caused turnovers while sophomore Alissa Hardimann also registered three groundballs and two caused turnovers.
“We stuck to the game plan well which was to go with momentum when we had it, but also possess and be patient on offense,” said Redfern. “When our attack possesses, it helps our defensive effort.
Lehigh jumped out to a quick 1-0 lead as Dykstra netted her first of the game only 54 seconds in. Thomas and Patterson added the game’s next two scores for an early 3-0 advantage at 22:55.
The Eagles responded with two straight and four of the next seven bridging the end of the first and beginning of the second, but the Mountain Hawks came back with a vengeance to put the game away. Spearheaded by numerous point-blank saves on one end by Fitzpatrick, Lehigh went on to score five straight goals - led by two from Kelly - to open up an 11-4 advantage with 13:29 on the clock.
American erased a 17:23 scoreless drought with 10:21 remaining, but Dykstra and Kelly scored their fourth and third goals, respectively to make it 13-5. Bernadette Maher added her second of the game with 30 seconds remaining, but it wasn’t nearly enough.
The Mountain Hawks led the final shot count, 27-25, while holding an 18-14 groundball advantage. Lehigh had 12 draw controls to the Eagles’ nine. Fitzpatrick finished with 14 saves while Kaska Komosinski posted eight.
Lehigh continues its homestand on Wednesday with a 7 p.m. opening draw against Iona. The Mountain Hawks follow that up on Saturday (Apr. 9) with their final regular season home game of the season as they welcome Virginia Tech for a 1 p.m. start time. That will also be Senior Day with Lauren Dykstra, Kindall Healy and Allison Thomas all honored prior to the contest.