ANNAPOLIS, Md. - Using a balanced all-around effort, the Lehigh women’s lacrosse team jumped out to an early lead and held off a Navy charge for an impressive 15-13 win on Saturday. With the victory, the Mountain Hawks (10-6, 5-1 Patriot League) share the Patriot League Regular Season Title with Colgate and will enter the tournament as the No. 2 seed. Lehigh will rematch with the Midshipmen in next Thursday’s league semifinal.
The game was also shown nationally on CBS Sports Network and will re-air on two occasions Sunday morning - 2 a.m. and 7:30 a.m.
"I thought we played really hard," said Lehigh head coach Jill Redfern. "Navy played well too. Overall, it was just a great game; it was definitely a hard-fought victory."
For the second-straight season, the Mountain Hawks wrap up the regular season with a 5-1 league mark. Due to Colgate’s 19-16 win over Lehigh earlier this season, the Raiders earn the tiebreaker and the right to host the entire Patriot League Tournament.
A balanced offensive attack saw six different players score double-figure goals. Senior Lauren Dykstra led the way with four goals while fellow senior Allison Thomas also had four points (three goals, one assist). Scoring two goals were sophomores Megan Kelly, Anna Patterson and Julie McBrien, along with freshman Julie Tatios.
Freshman Alexandra Fitzpatrick struggled between the pipes, making three saves before being relieved by sophomore MaryLeah DiNisco, who was stellar with seven saves to earn her first win of the season.
"It wasn’t Alex’s best day and I thought we needed a spark in the cage," said Redfern. "ML provided it and really made a difference."
Lehigh got the quick lead only 37 seconds into the game via a McBrien goal. The Midshipmen responded with two straight, but that marked their last lead of the contest. The Mountain Hawks answered with goals from Thomas, Dykstra and McBrien to make it 4-2 at 20:18.
Navy did go on to tie the score at four and five, but a resilient Lehigh squad continued to respond.
Up 8-6 at the half, the Midshipmen began the second with two straight goals to knot the score at the 27:41 mark. But Lehigh answered with five of the next six goals, led by two from both Thomas and Kelly to make it 11-8 at 18:29. Navy tried to stage a comeback, pulling within two at 11-9, 13-11 and 14-12, but the Mountain Hawks held off the charge.
"I think it shows some real maturity on our part to recognize what it takes to beat a Navy team on the road," said Redfern. "I thought all three of our seniors were outstanding. I’m happy for them."
Navy led the final shot count, 34-22 while groundballs were even at 13. The Midshipmen held a 16-14 edge in draw controls. A physical game saw 33 fouls whistled on Navy and 13 on Lehigh.
The Mountain Hawks now look ahead to the Patriot League Tournament which begins with the semifinals next Thursday, Apr. 28. The tournament will be held at Colgate with No. 2 Lehigh facing No. 3 Navy in one semifinal and No. 1 Colgate playing No. 4 American in the other. The championship game will take place on Saturday, Apr. 30 at 3 p.m. and will air nationally on the CBS Sports Network.
"I think it will be very difficult to beat Navy twice in this short amount of time, but we’re absolutely ready for the challenge," said Redfern. "I think we can improve on some things that we learned today."