Posted: 03/20/2013 | Last updated: March 20, 2013 at 10:02 PM
BETHLEHEM, Pa. - The Lehigh men’s lacrosse team took a 2-0 lead less than three minutes into the game, but could only manage two more the rest of the way as UMass topped the #15/16 Mountain Hawks 6-4 on Wednesday evening at the Ulrich Sports Complex. Nationally televised on ESPNU as the Warrior Game of the Week, the Mountain Hawks were anchored by sophomore goalie Matt Poillon, who made 13 saves while junior Ty Souders had five groundballs and two caused turnovers to lead the defense.
“The first thing I need to do is give a lot of credit to UMass,” said Lehigh head coach Kevin Cassese. “They outplayed us tonight; they outworked us tonight and deserved to win. This was not the Lehigh team I’ve seen the last couple times out. For whatever reason, we couldn’t manufacture the same amount of energy and urgency that we had against Penn State and Army. That showed tonight. We weren’t ourselves, and it was really disappointing to see.”
Lehigh’s goals came from seniors David DiMaria and Kyle Stiefel along with sophomores Alan Henderson and Patrick Corbett. Close defensemen Souders, senior Mike Noone and senior Baxter Lanius all posted two caused turnovers. Senior Ryan Snyder won the first three faceoffs, but finished 6-of-14 on the evening.
UMass was led by senior and 2012 Tewaaraton Award Finalist Will Manny, who scored the Minutemen’s final three goals.
The Mountain Hawks began with a vengeance as DiMaria scored at 13:53 then found sophomore Patrick Corbett just 1:15 later to make it 2-0 before the game was three minutes old.
From there, UMass began to slowly chip away, scoring its first goal at 4:21 of the first before Dan Muller knotted the score less than a minute into the second. Henderson responded with an unassisted tally at 12:41, but UMass scored the final two goals of the first half to go up 4-3 following 30 minutes of play.
Manny scored his second of the game at 6:08 of the third to make it 5-3, but Stiefel fired a bounce shot past goalie Zach Oliveri to pull within 5-4 with 26 seconds left in the third.
Manny scored the only goal of the fourth quarter, his third straight for the Minutemen. Lehigh only had three fourth-quarter shots against four fourth-quarter turnovers as the Mountain Hawks dropped their second straight home game by a 6-4 final.
Final shots were 24-23 in favor of Lehigh while groundballs were 28-26 Mountain Hawks. UMass was 21-of-23 on clears while Lehigh finished 21-of-25. Both teams were 0-for-1 on the extra man. The Mountain Hawks turned the ball over 19 times to UMass’ 17. Oliveri finished with nine saves across Poillon’s 13.
“Any time we hold someone to six goals, we should win the game,” said Cassese. “Our defense again stood tall. Matt Poillon played great again. We can’t rely on our defense to hold teams to three. When our offense doesn’t show up, it’s usually because we’re playing too individualistic and trying to do too much. We did that consistently all game despite constant reminders and wakeup calls that I tried.
“Some of our top guys didn’t show up tonight and that’s unfortunate,” Cassese continued. “At the end of the day, I’m the leader of the program; I’ll take the blame for it and figure out a way to get better. We don’t have much time to dwell on it. We’ve got another game coming up in about 72 hours. We need to get ourselves right and get ourselves focused for the next one.”
Lehigh will head back into Patriot League play for the rest of the season as the Mountain Hawks travel to Holy Cross Saturday for a 3 p.m. faceoff.
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