WORCESTER, Mass. - The Lehigh women’s lacrosse team jumped out to an early lead and wouldn’t look back, busting open a 5-3 game with 10 of the final 11 goals on its way to a 15-4 triumph over Holy Cross on Saturday. With the win, the Mountain Hawks (9-6, 4-1 Patriot League) clinch a berth to their fifth straight Patriot League Tournament, while eliminating the Crusaders from postseason contention.
“It was a tremendous team effort,” said Lehigh head coach Jill Redfern. “So many players did their jobs well and it really added up.”
The Mountain Hawks’ defense was stellar all game, allowing only 13 Holy Cross shots on cage. In the process, Lehigh held the Crusaders to a season-low four goals. It also marked the fewest the Mountain Hawks’ have allowed against Holy Cross since a 14-4 win in 1996.
Junior Leigh Ann Torcivia helped spearhead the defensive effort with five groundballs and a caused turnover while freshman goalie Alexandra Fitzpatrick finished with nine saves in yet another strong performance. Over her past seven games, Fitzpatrick now has 72 saves while allowing only 50 goals, good for a .590 save percentage.
“We really followed the game plan on the defensive end,” said Redfern. “Holy Cross had a really hard time getting any momentum with their offense; they seemed rattled. They didn’t get too many good opportunities, but when they did, Alex turned them back.”
Leading the offense was junior Kelly Draper, who posted a career-high eight points and six assists.
“Kelly was a key on the offensive end,” said Redfern. “She distributed the ball really well and people finished.”
Senior Lauren Dykstra contributed five points behind four goals and an assist. Also recording multiple points was sophomore Julie McBrien (two goals, one assist), senior Allison Thomas (two goals), freshman Julie Tatios (two goals) and junior Lauren Murray (two goals, one assist).
Lehigh jumped out to an early 2-0 lead before extending it to 5-2. Holy Cross’ Sara Hennessey pulled the Crusaders within two at 8:33 of the first half, but that’s when the Mountain Hawks took over. Draper scored only 57 seconds later for a 6-3 halftime lead. Lehigh then began the second half on a 7-0 run before Hennessey broke the streak with only 5:44 remaining to make it 13-4. Sophomore Megan Kelly and McBrien answered with two more scores to account for the 15-4 final.
In total, Lehigh the Mountain Hawks held the Crusaders scoreless for 32:49, a time in which they scored eight goals of their own. Dykstra posted a natural hat trick during that stretch, scoring three straight times, at 25:26, 10:42 and 9:32 to turn a 9-3 lead into a 12-3 advantage.
“I do think the team was hugely determined to get this win and have it established that they’re going to the Patriot League Tournament,” said Redfern. “It’s a huge goal for our program and they delivered when they needed to.”
Lehigh led the final shot count, 28-23, and in groundballs, 17-8, while Holy Cross held a slim 11-9 advantage in draw controls. The Mountain Hawks were an impressive 16-of-17 on clearing attempts to the Crusaders 10-of-10. Fitzpatrick’s nine saves came across Holy Cross’ Amy Martin, who made eight.
The Mountain Hawks wrap up the regular season with a Patriot League showdown at Navy next Saturday (Apr. 23). Opening draw is set for 3 p.m. on the CBS Sports Network. They will look to avenge last season’s Patriot League Championship Game loss to Navy in the nationally-televised regular season finale.