BETHLEHEM, Pa. – Seniors Leigh Ann Torcivia and Lauren Murray combined for seven goals and the defense tightened up in the second half as Lehigh evened its season record with a 13-10 win over rival Lafayette Saturday night at the Ulrich Sports Complex. The Mountain Hawks led for a vast majority of the game, but never led by more than three goals. With solid ball control in the final minutes Lehigh held on for the win to move to 5-5 on the season and 2-1 in league games.
“Lafayette is much improved,” said Lehigh head coach Jill Redfern. I give them a ton of credit. They played very hard and exploited some of our weaknesses, but we rallied and fought back against everything they tried to do and we came out on top.”
Torcivia led all players with four goals and added an assist, four draw controls and three ground balls, while Murray chipped in three goals and two assists. Lafayette was led by Addie Godfrey’s three goals as the Leopards fall to 6-5 overall and 0-2 in the Patriot League.
“Every time Lauren Murray had the ball I felt very confident,” Redfern said. “We got the ball to her early and she finished when she needed to. Leigh Ann was absolutely key in winning the game. She was everywhere. She contributed in every aspect of the game. It’s really nice to have two players like that out there.”
In a game of contrasting halves the teams combined for 17 goals in the first 30 minutes but only six in the second half. Lehigh held early leads at 2-0 and 4-2 before Lafayette battled back scoring three straight goals to take its only lead at 5-4 on Jessica Rothstein’s second goal with 16:44 left before halftime. From there Murray’s second goal of the game tied it and junior Julie McBrien gave the Mountain Hawks the lead with a free position goal with 15:30 left in the first half.
Lafayette tied the game at six on a Godfrey’s first goal, but Lehigh raced in front 9-6 on three straight goals from sophomore Chelsea Retaleato, Murray and Torcivia. The Leopards continued to fight and scored the next two goals, including a fast-break tally by Godfrey with 2.5 seconds remaining in the half to trail just 9-8 at the break.
Torcivia opened the second half scoring nearly five minutes in with an assist from Murray. Ana White answered for Lafayette, but Torcivia helped the Mountain Hawks re-establish a three goal edge with an assist on a goal by freshman Carli Sukonik and then her fourth goal of the game off a free position with 15:24 to play.
Lehigh worked to milk most of the final ten minutes off the clock. Erin Steel did score for Lafayette with 7:51 to play but the Mountain Hawks were able to earn possessions and when they turned the ball over, junior ML DiNisco came up with four second half saves after recording zero in the first half. Retaleato scored her second goal in the final seconds to clinch Lehigh’s sixth straight win over the Leopards.
“That’s a real strength of our team,” Redfern said. “The experience we’ve had and making them come after you at the end when you have a lead. It’s smart. We’re capable of doing it. It wasn’t perfect but it was certainly good enough.”
For the game Lehigh out-shot Lafayette and had a slight 15-14 edge in ground balls. The Mountain Hawks had a 16-9 edge in draw controls, including a 13-5 edge in the first half. Each team turned the ball over 15 times.
DiNisco bounced back after a tough first half to make four saves in the winning effort. Freshman Allison Fayans also played 9:33 in goal for Lehigh but did not make a save. Meghan Curtin finished with seven saves for Lafayette.
The Mountain Hawks will return to action Tuesday night when they travel to Villanova. The opening draw is set for 7 p.m.