BETHLEHEM, Pa. - Sophomore Lindsay Metzger scored a hat trick on her 20th birthday to lead an offense which netted its most goals since 2004 as the Lehigh field hockey team topped Towson, 6-3, on a sunny Sunday afternoon. The Mountain Hawks opened a 4-0 lead less than 29 minutes into the game and wouldn’t look back. Junior Caitlyn Mitchell, freshman Erin Ricker and senior Kim Eng also added goals in the victory.
“It’s awesome. I’m glad the girls came out and played hard, and as a unit,” said Lehigh head coach Stacey Blue. “It was exactly what we’ve been working on. It was a nice win.
With the victory, Lehigh improved to 11-0 all-time against Towson. The sides hadn’t met since 1989 after playing every season in the 80s. The six goals were most by the Mountain Hawks since a 6-4 win at Bucknell on Oct. 23, 2004.
Metzger was the story, especially early on, as she netted all three of her goals in the first half. She became the first Lehigh player to record a hat trick since Caitlin Donnelly had three vs. Saint Joseph’s on Sept. 15, 2010. Metzger got Lehigh off to a fast start, just 3:16 into the game. Sophomore Steph Fratoni made a steal outside the circle and fed in front. Metzger did the rest, redirecting it past Towson goalie Tashani Dickinson to make it 1-0.
The Mountain Top, Pa. native continued the momentum, making it 2-0 just 11:16 later. Off a rebound, she corralled the ball near the far post and slid a low shot into the back of the cage.
Exactly seven minutes later, Mitchell scored her first of the season, deflecting a hard pass from senior Mercedes Grubb to make it 3-0 at the 21:32 mark.
Metzger added her fourth just over seven minutes later off another deflection, this time of an Abby Sprinkel shot following a penalty corner. That made it 4-0 at 28:37, which stood as the score heading into halftime.
“I definitely think they played as a unit, moving the ball and just scoring,” said Blue. “They were relentless in the first half, which was really nice to see. They have a lot of potential as a team so when they work together, they can be unstoppable.”
The Mountain Hawks continued that momentum into the second half, scoring off a penalty corner just 3:35 into the second stanza for a 5-0 advantage. Eng fed Ricker, who blasted a shot that found the back of the cage. The five-goal advantage marked Lehigh’s largest lead since 2004 when it beat UMBC, 6-1.
Towson responded with two consecutive goals, scoring at 41:21 and 47:25 to pull within 5-2. However, Lehigh had an answer as Eng had a steal inside the circle, made a move, then beat Dickson low to make it 6-2 and erase any doubt. The Tigers added a late goal, but it wasn’t nearly enough.
The Mountain Hawks held the edge in shots, 17-13, while penalty corners were tied at six. Lehigh freshman goalkeeper Sophie Fitzpatrick made five saves, as did Dickson.
Lehigh returns to action on Friday when it hosts intrastate foe and #8 nationally-ranked Penn State. Gametime is set for 7 p.m.
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