Posted: March 10, 2007
BETHLEHEM, Pa. – Lehigh jumped out to an early 3-0 lead over No. 6/7 Navy, but a 7-0 second quarter run by the Midshipmen propelled them to a 9-5 victory over the Mountain Hawks on Saturday afternoon at the Ulrich Sports Complex. Senior Steve Marino netted two goals for the Brown and White, who falls to 2-3 on the season and 1-1 in Patriot League play, while the visiting Mids improve to 4-0 overall and 2-0 in league action.
“I thought our senior class played well overall,” explained sixth year Lehigh head coach Chris Wakely afterwards. “This was a typical Patriot League matchup and now we have a tough game with Villanova coming up (next Saturday).” He added, “In the second half, we were very resilient I thought and came ready to play in the third and fourth quarters. We had a few chances in the second half that if we were able to capitalize could have made it a different game, but Navy doesn’t make anything easy on its opponents. We kept scrapping, but did not have an answer for that run they put together in the second quarter.”
Lehigh scored first as freshman Chris Linko netted his first collegiate goal at the 3:12 mark of the first quarter. Marino then took a feed from classmate Jeff Wiener and beat Navy goal keeper Colin Finnegan with 2:28 to go in the opening quarter, which made the score 2-0 in favor of the Mountain Hawks. Sophomore Ricky Cornetta made the score 3-0 Lehigh with 1:02 to go, as he scored his second goal of the season.
In the second quarter Navy found its offensive rhythm and unleashed seven unanswered goals, starting with Billy Looney’s man-up score at the 14:34 mark. Victor Berger, William Wallace, Tommy Wallin, Nick Mirabito, and Looney would all score for the Mids in the second, as Lehigh found itself down 7-3 entering the halftime break.
Bruce Nechanicky scored the lone goal of the third quarter, as he took a pass from Terence Higgins and beat Lehigh keeper Eric Spirko with 5:44 left, and the visitors went up 8-3 as the teams headed into the final 15 minutes of action. Marino brought Lehigh to within four as he scored off of a pass from classmate David Gaunt with 10:23 to go, and Matt Diehl then made it an 8-5 game with 8:54 to go. That was as close as Lehigh would get however, as Looney took a pass from Finnegan and unleashed a shot from near midfield that found the back of the net to put the Mids ahead 9-5 and put the game out of reach.
Both teams recorded 35 shots on the afternoon, while Navy scooped up 32 ground balls and Lehigh picked up 25. The Mountain Hawks turned the ball over ten times, while the Mids turned it over nine times. Lehigh, which was 0-for-4 in extra man opportunities was 18-of-22 on clear attempts and won seven-of-17 face-offs.
Spirko finished with nine saves in goal for the Mountain Hawks, and also picked up five ground balls, while Mike Zurfluh, Gentile and Wiener all scooped up three ground balls. Marino and Wiener led the Brown and White with nine shots, and Gentile won six-of-13 face-offs.
Wallace won eight-of-11 face-offs for Navy and also scooped up six ground balls, while Finnegan stopped 14 Mountain Hawk shots and picked up five ground balls. Mirabito and Nechanicky both handed out a pair of assists for the Mids, while Looney recorded a hat trick.
Lehigh is now off for a week before returning to action on Saturday, March 17 when the Mountain Hawks head to Villanova to take on the Wildcats. Game time is set for 1:00.