LEWISBURG, Pa. - Bucknell broke open a 2-2 halftime tie by scoring 11-of-14 second-half goals to down the Lehigh men’s lacrosse team, 13-5, in the Patriot League Semifinals on Friday evening. A defensive contest saw the Mountain Hawks (7-9) hold Bucknell scoreless for a 27:02 stretch, but the Bison scored with less than a minute remaining in the first half and carried that momentum into the second.
“Give the Bison credit,” said Lehigh head coach Kevin Cassese. “They came up with a lot of the hustle stats. We just didn’t play well enough to win.”
Lehigh got off to a quick start, as sophomore David DiMaria scored one of his two goals only seven seconds into the game. DiMaria was the spark offensively as he had a hand in four of the Mountain Hawks’ five tallies, recording two goals and two assists on the evening. Junior Adam Johnston also added a pair.
“We’re proud of our guys,” said Cassese. “They played hard as they always do. Bucknell came up with the key plays in the third. They’re a veteran team and it shows in their play.”
The story in the early going was sensational defense on both sides. Along with the 27:02 scoreless streak, the Bison held the Mountain Hawks scoreless for a stretch of 15:17, and then again for 26:47 bridging the second and third quarters.
A big part of that was sophomore goalie Griffin Farha, who finished with 11 saves, including six in the first half and 10 over the first three quarters. Senior Richard Bradley helped lead the defensive charge, posting two caused turnovers and a groundball.
Tied at one heading into the second quarter, the Mountain Hawks made it 2-1 at 14:36 off a man-up goal from Johnston. A defensive battle continued over the rest of the quarter as neither side found the back of the next for the next 13:58 until Charlie Streep made it 2-2 with 38 seconds remaining in the half.
The Bison rode the momentum into the second half as they scored at 11:07, 9:34 and 7:23 before a sensational individual effort from DiMaria pulled the Mountain Hawks within 5-3 at 2:49.
However, Bucknell answered only 1:22 later to make it 6-3 after three quarters before continuing into the fourth quarter. The Bison scored five in a row before junior Cameron Lao-Gosney took a feed from sophomore Dante Fantoni to make it 11-4 at 3:34. That did extend Fantoni’s point streak to 28 heading into next season.
After Bucknell came back with two straight goals, DiMaria picked up his fourth point, feeding Johnston with the game’s final score at 17 seconds of the fourth.
Bucknell held a 33-28 shot advantage, 32-28 in groundballs. Lehigh won 13-of-20 faceoffs, sparked by 75 percent (12-of-16) from sophomore Ryan Snyder. He also scooped eight groundballs to up his Patriot League single-season record to 118. The Mountain Hawks finished with 22 turnovers, 14 coming in the second half. Bucknell had 11.