BETHLEHEM, Pa. - The Lehigh men’s lacrosse team will continue a three-game road trip this weekend as they travel to Chapel Hill to take on #4 North Carolina. The Mountain Hawks will look to build on momentum from a big win at #19 Penn earlier this week. Opening faceoff will be at 7:30 from Fetzer Field.
UNC (4-0, 0-0 ACC) has opened its season with wins over #17 Penn State, Mercer, Detroit and most recently, a 9-8 victory over Patriot League foe Navy. The Tar Heels will be the third ranked team the Brown and White have faced this season; they fell to #10 Villanova before the victory at #19 Penn on Tuesday. The Mountain Hawks (3-1, 0-0 PL) have won two straight overall, shutting out Manhattan before taking down the Quakers earlier this week. Lehigh is a perfect 2-0 away from home, including its season-opening win at Saint Joseph’s.
Tuesday’s 10-4 win marked the Mountain Hawks’ first over a ranked foe since knocking off #9 Villanova, then #19 Lafayette in back-to-back weeks to end the 2010 season. It’s also the first win against a ranked opponent for any Patriot League team this season.
Junior David DiMaria leads the Mountain Hawks in scoring with 12 points (six goals, six assists) including five in the victory over Penn. The duo of Canadian freshmen, Dan Taylor and Patrick Corbett, are tied for second on the team with eight apiece (each six goals, two assists each). The Lao-Gosney twins, seniors Roman and Cameron, have each contributed five points from the midfield, including two goals and an assist at Penn for Cameron. Seventeen Mountain Hawks have contributed at least one point through the first four games.
The Lehigh defense has been the story as of late. Its last line of defense is freshman goalie Matt Poillon, who dons a stellar 6.09 goals against average after shutting out the Jaspers, then holding the Quakers to just four goals. Poillon and the defense ran up a shutout streak of 90:14, spanning three games. Poillon’s GAA was 10th-best in the nation as of Monday, prior to another strong performance Tuesday night.
North Carolina features the third-best offense in the nation, as the Tar Heels are averaging 15.25 goals per contest this season. Junior attackman Marcus Holman leads UNC in scoring with 14 points (seven, seven) followed by junior and Georgetown transfer Davey Emala with 12, and freshman Joey Sankey with 10. Junior Steven Rastivo anchors UNC between the pipes with a .557 save percentage and 8.31 goals against average. The UNC defense has allowed just 28.5 shots per game. R.G. Keenan, reigning ACC Defensive Player of the Week, leads the team with 29 ground balls and an .815 faceoff percentage after winning 18-of-20 draws against Navy.
Lehigh and North Carolina have played seven times in their history with the Tar Heels winning four, along with a tie. Lehigh won the first two meetings, in 1950 and ‘51, before tying in 52. The sides didn’t meet again until 2000, when UNC beat the Mountain Hawks, 11-10. The Tar Heels have responded by dropping Lehigh in each of the past three seasons, including a 15-8 decision last year, the first time North Carolina ever traveled to Bethlehem.
Lehigh will wrap up its three-game road trip when it faces VMI on Tuesday before returning home to the Ulrich Sports Complex to host #18 Yale on Sunday, Mar. 11.