FAIRFIELD, Conn. - The Lehigh women’s lacrosse team held a 33-21 edge in shots, but struggled to beat Fairfield goalie Katie Keenan, who made 17 saves to propel the Stags (5-2) past the Mountain Hawks (4-5), 11-8, on Wednesday afternoon. Senior Leigh Ann Torcivia led the way with two goals, two assists and a game-high five draw controls while sophomore Chelsea Retaleato and senior Lauren Murray also scored two goals apiece.
“We struggled today in groundballs and draw control. That was definitely a key to the game,” said Lehigh head coach Jill Redfern. “We’ve been dominating draws and it was much more even today, which put us on defense a whole bunch. Fairfield capitalized. We generated a lot of opportunities, but couldn’t beat a good goalkeeper enough of the time.”
Keenan stopped 17-of-25 shots in a strong effort. That included nine in the second half when Fairfield erased a 5-4 Lehigh advantage by outscoring the Mountain Hawks, 7-3.
“She was the difference of the game, but not to let us off the hook,” said Redfern. “We didn’t play well enough to win.”
Retaleato was the story early on, scoring two first-half goals in her first action of the season. After she scored her first just three minutes in, Fairfield took a 2-1 lead at the 22:43 mark. But the Mountain Hawks posted four straight goals to take a three-goal advantage late in the first. Torcivia scored a pair, at 19:27 and 18:27, before Murray and Retaleato made it 4-2 then 5-2, respectively.
Fairfield answered with two goals in a 48-second span, with just under five minutes remaining, to pull within 5-4 after 20 minutes of play.
The Stags continued the momentum into the second, extending their run to 6-0 after an Amanda Best goal at 21:21. Freshman Carli Sukonik pulled the Mountain Hawks within 8-6 at 18:07, but Fairfield came right back with three of the next four goals to pull away. Junior Julie McBrien added a score with 1:25 remaining, but it was too little, too late.
“We got off to a beautiful start,” said Redfern. “We were winning the game and in great control. Our game was better overall, but we still suffered in a few aspects that we need to keep working at. There are definitely signs of growth and turning the corner.”
Lehigh held a 33-21 edge in shots while Fairfield had 17 groundballs to the Mountain Hawks’ 15 and draw controls were tied at 11. Junior MaryLeah DiNisco made seven saves for Lehigh.
The Mountain Hawks will play their third Patriot League game of the season when they host Lafayette Saturday night. Opening draw is set for 7 p.m. Lehigh will be looking for its second league win of the season while Lafayette will be eying its first.
“It’s the biggest game of the year for us,” said Redfern. “It’ll be a great game; they’re improved. We’re fortunate to be playing at home. We have to execute and play with a lot of confidence.”