BETHLEHEM, Pa. - The #16/15 Lehigh men’s lacrosse team will look to continue its recent roll when it travels to Lexington, Va. for a matchup with the VMI Keydets Tuesday. Opening faceoff is set for 3 p.m. The Mountain Hawks are riding three straight wins, including two over ranked foes, to jump into the national rankings themselves.
Following a tough 17-7 loss against #10 Villanova, Lehigh has bounced back with a dominant 13-0 shutout of Manhattan, the same Jaspers squad which defeated Providence on Saturday. The Mountain Hawks continued last Tuesday at #19/18 Penn by continuing the defensive dominance in a 10-4 win over the Quakers. Lehigh then shocked the lacrosse world with a hard-fought 9-8 win at #4 North Carolina. The Mountain Hawks won almost every statistical category, including shots, groundballs and the most important stat, goals, to pick up the victory. It was the first time an unranked squad defeated the Tar Heels at Fetzer Field since Mar. 5, 2004 when Navy won by the same 9-8 final (in overtime).
Four Mountain Hawks earned weekly recognition from the Patriot League Monday as sophomore Ty Souders was named Defensive Player of the Week while freshman Matt Poillon earned Goalkeeper of the Week for the second time this season. In addition, sophomores David DiMaria and Ryan Snyder earned Honorable Mention laurels.
The win over North Carolina marked Lehigh’s first against the Tar Heels since 1951, snapping a four-game losing streak in the all-time series. It was Lehigh’s second straight victory over a ranked squad, for the first time since the end of the 2010 season when the Mountain Hawks defeated #9 Villanova and #19 Lafayette in succession.
Lehigh is looking for its first four-game winning streak since the beginning of the 2006 season when the Mountain Hawks topped Marist, Saint Joseph’s, Army and Mount St. Mary’s after dropping their season opener against Delaware. Lehigh would also be 5-1 after six games for the first time since 1997.
VMI has struggled so far this season, coming in at 0-4, falling to Navy (14-7), Army (14-8), #1 Virginia (19-5) and Saint Joseph’s (12-4). Faceoff specialist Stephen Robarge is arguably the team’s top player, posting an impressive 62.4 save percentage win percentage (58-of-93) with a team-high 29 groundballs. Keith Long owns a team-leading 13 points via seven goals and six assists while Chris Kitchen is next up at five (five goals). Chris Rossie and Rory Dillon both have strong groundballs numbers at 14 and 11, respectively. The Keydets have turned the ball over 95 times in four games vs. 45 turnovers for their opponents (23 caused). Kelly McMinn has started all four games in goal, posting a 14.99 GAA and 50.4 save percentage.
Lehigh owns a 10-5 lead in the all-time series, with the teams last meeting in 2003. The Mountain Hawks have won seven straight overall, beginning with a 19-10 home win in 1996. Since, the squad has posted dominant victories, including 25-3, 20-6 and 22-3. VMI’s last win came back in 1995 by a 15-12 final. The teams first met in 1988, a 14-9 VMI win. The Keydets won three of the first four meetings.
Lehigh returns home Sunday (1 p.m.) to host #15/16 Yale in a nationally-ranked showdown. The Mountain Hawks then remain home to host Army on Saturday (Mar. 17) at 1 p.m. in their Patriot League opener.