HAMILTON, N.Y. - The #7 Lehigh men’s lacrosse men’s lacrosse team saw its program-record nine-game winning streak come to an end in heartbreaking fashion, dropping an 11-10 overtime final to #17/16 Colgate on Saturday. The Mountain Hawks (10-2, 3-1 Patriot League) took a 10-8 lead with 5:10 left in regulation, but the Raiders scored the final three goals to snatch the victory. Freshman Matt Poillon made a career-high 16 saves between the pipes, including one with time winding down in regulation.
With the loss, coupled with Bucknell’s defeat to Army, Lehigh, Colgate and Bucknell enter next weekend tied for first in the Patriot League with identical 3-1 records.
“Give Colgate a ton of credit,” said Lehigh head coach Kevin Cassese. “They came out and won the game. They did it by dominating the hustle stats. They controlled the shots, the groundballs and the faceoffs. They really took it to us today and that was the difference.”
The Mountain Hawks struggled in winning only five-of-25 faceoffs, which put the Lehigh defense on its heels for much of the game.
“Credit Colgate’s faceoff personnel,” said Cassese. “Being able to secure possession was the difference in the game. We played far too much defense against the top offense in the country.”
The game featured the nation’s top offense Colgate (13.6 goals per game) against Lehigh’s top-ranked defense (5.45). Sophomore Lukas Mikelinich shut down the nation’s leading scorer Peter Baum, who had a goal and assist after entering with 42 goals and 13 assists over his first 10 games. Two-time reigning Patriot League Defensive Player of the Week Mike Noone finished with a team-high four groundballs and three caused turnovers. In total, Lehigh forced nine of Colgate’s 13 turnovers.
Senior Roman Lao-Gosney sparked the offense with his second-career hat trick, all coming after halftime. Junior David DiMaria added two goals while five others scored a single goal each.
“We didn’t have anyone who stepped up and played their best game of the year,” said Cassese.
“On the other side of the ball, we did a great job on their top two scorers (Baum and Ryan Walsh), but they’re a talented offense. They played together and a lot of guys stepped up.”
Jeff Ledwick broke the ice at 13:37 of the first quarter. The teams traded goals until the Mountain Hawks went on a three-goal spurt to turn a 2-1 deficit into a 4-2 lead after junior Dante Fantoni scored at 6:47 of the second.
The Raiders snapped a 17:30 scoreless drought with a vengeance, scoring three straight to end the half - all in a 2:48 span - to take a 5-4 lead into halftime. With the scoreless streak, Lehigh has now shut-out its opponent for a stretch of at least 15 minutes in 11 games this season (and 10 straight contests).
DiMaria’s second goal and Lao-Gosney’s first helped Lehigh regain a 6-5 lead early in the third. However, Colgate answered right back as Walsh scored two in a 48-second span to retake the lead.
The Mountain Hawks answered with a 3-0 run bridging the end of the third and into the fourth. Senior Adam Johnston scooped a rebound and beat Raiders’ goalie Jared Madison at 10:01 to give Lehigh a 9-7 advantage. Colgate responded, but Roman Lao-Gosney added his third at 5:10, giving the Mountain Hawks a 10-8 lead with 5:10 remaining.
However, the Raiders continued to win faceoffs and used that to their advantage, as Baum and Ledwick added goals to make it 10-10. With time winding down, Poillon made a big save off a low shot to force overtime.
Lehigh’s first overtime possession ended with a Madison save, then it was Ledwick who took a feed from Brendon McCann and beat Poillon to give Colgate the dramatic 11-10 victory.
The Raiders held a 44-33 edge in shots and 30-21 in groundballs while Robert Grabher won 20-of-25 faceoffs. Lehigh was 0-for-1 on extra man, being held without a man-up goal for only the second time this season. Poillon made 16 saves across Madison, who finished with nine.
“The maturity and poise we’ve been playing with for the last nine games wasn’t there today,” said Cassese. “We made some mental mistakes and some immature plays when it mattered most and that can’t happen in a one-goal game.”
The Mountain Hawks return to the Ulrich Sports Complex next Saturday (Apr. 14) against #15/13 Bucknell for a big clash against the Bison. Faceoff for Senior Night is set for 7 p.m.