BETHLEHEM, Pa. - Despite another solid effort against a ranked foe, the Lehigh men’s lacrosse team fell just short once again, dropping an 11-8 final to No. 20 Colgate on Saturday evening at the Ulrich Sports Complex. The Mountain Hawks (6-6, 2-2 Patriot League) nearly made an improbable comeback with three goals in a 2:24 span, but the Raiders responded with the game’s final two scores to erase any doubt.
“Give Colgate a lot of credit,” said Lehigh head coach Kevin Cassese. “Their kids came in here and played with a bigger chip on their shoulder than we did. We’ve talked to the guys to play with more urgency and desperation, but we just didn’t do that today.”
Colgate broke a 5-5 tie with a four-goal run, but that’s when sophomore Dante Fantoni and the Mountain Hawks took over. Fantoni scored twice and assisted on the other to quickly pull Lehigh back to within 9-8 with 7:39 remaining. The Mountain Hawks had numerous chances to tie the score, but couldn’t net the equalizer as the Raiders scored the final two.
“I thought we had a good start,” said Cassese. “We controlled all the first-half stats, but didn’t in what mattered most - the score. They’re a good team and made a good run to pull away.”
Fantoni led Lehigh’s attack with four points via three goals and an assist. Sophomore David DiMaria added a pair of assists while senior Jonathan Stumpf tallied a goal and assist. Four other Mountain Hawks recorded single goals as well.
Senior Richard Bradley led the Lehigh defense with four groundballs and three caused turnovers while fellow defensemen Mike Noone and Ty Souders recorded two groundballs apiece. Sophomore Dan Carr made seven saves in goal before being relieved by Griffin Farha, who posted four.
John Donnally gave Colgate a 1-0 lead only 12 seconds in with an unassisted score, but the Mountain Hawks responded with goals from Stumpf and junior Adam Johnston to take a 2-1 advantage at 10:21. That proved to be the first - and last - lead Lehigh would hold.
The Raiders answered with the next two to retake a 3-2 lead at 11:41 of the second quarter, then the teams traded goals until early in the third quarter when Colgate went on its 4-0 run. The Mountain Hawks had gotten big man-up goals from Fantoni and sophomore Kyle Stiefel, but the Raiders continued to have answers.
Down 9-6 approaching 10 minutes remaining in regulation, that’s when Fantoni took over. He had a hand in all three Lehigh goals in a 2:24 span to quickly shift momentum in the Mountain Hawks’ favor. But Lehigh couldn’t get over the hump, failing to beat Colgate goalie Jared Madison for a ninth time. The Raiders came back with late goals from Jeff Ledwick and Andrew Mould to seal the victory.
Lehigh led the final shot count, 40-31, while winning the groundball battle, 29-26. Colgate’s Jim Carroll impressed at the faceoff X, winning 13-of-22 against the Mountain Hawks’ combination of sophomore Ryan Snyder (6-of-16) and senior Will Scudder (3-of-6). The Raiders were 8-of-10 on clears to Lehigh’s 12-of-14. Madison finished with nine saves for Colgate while Carr and Farha combined for 11. Lehigh was 2-of-2 on man-up opportunities to the Raiders’ 1-of-3.
“We’re still in a good place,” said Cassese. “Sure, we’re upset of the loss, but we have another huge game coming up on Friday.
“We’re going to keep working,” Cassese continued. “That’s how I was raised and that’s what we’re instilling in this team.”
The Mountain Hawks continue their long homestand with two more games against ranked foes. Lehigh welcomes No. 15 Bucknell to the Ulrich Sports Complex next Friday (Apr. 15) for a 7:30 p.m. faceoff. The squad then hosts No. 5 North Carolina on Sunday (Apr. 17) for a special 12 p.m. faceoff inside Goodman Stadium. That game will also air nationally on the CBS Sports Network.