Posted: 04/16/2012 | Last updated: April 17, 2012 at 08:45 AM
BETHLEHEM, Pa. - Following Saturday’s thrilling 9-8 win over Bucknell, Lehigh men’s lacrosse junior Mike Noone and freshman Matt Poillon earned Patriot League Defensive and Rookie of the Week, as announced on Monday. Junior Dante Fantoni, who scored the game-winning goal, also earned honorable mention recognition. In addition, the Mountain Hawks moved up to #10 in the Nike/Inside Lacrosse Media Poll while dropping to 12th in the USILA Coaches Poll.
The Defensive Player of the Week honor is Noone’s third of the season, all coming in the past four weeks. The Jenkintown, Pa. native wreaked havoc all game long, finishing with career highs in groundballs (6) and caused turnovers (4). None were bigger than a caused turnover and groundball with just over three minutes remaining which set up Lehigh’s last possession and Fantoni’s game-winning goal with 14 seconds remaining.
Noone covered Bucknell’s Chase Bailey, who had only one goal, this after entering with 33 points (24 goals, one assist) in his first 13 games. Noone spearheaded a defense which held the Bison off the scoreboard for one stretch of 15:19 bridging the second through fourth quarters. That allowed the offense to turn a 5-3 halftime deficit into a 6-5 lead.
The stretch marked Lehigh’s 15th shutout streak of 15 or more minutes this season. The Mountain Hawks have held their opponent scoreless for a streak of 15 or more minutes in 12-of-13 games. Noone and the defense held a potent Bucknell offense averaging nearly 12 goals per game to only eight while allowing only 16 shots on goal. For the season, Noone owns 33 groundballs and 23 caused turnovers, both tops on the team among close defensemen.
Poillon’s weekly award is the sixth of his career, earning Rookie of the Week for a second time to go with his four Goalkeeper of the Week honors. The freshman continued his strong play, making eight saves, with five coming in the first half to keep Lehigh within two after 30 minutes of play. He helped hold Bucknell off the scoreboard for 15:19 in a crucial stretch during Lehigh’s comeback.
For the season, Poillon has allowed only 51 goals over the team’s 11 wins (4.6 per game). He owns an impressive 6.04 GAA and 61.0 save percentage, both near the top in the nation.
Meanwhile, Fantoni earned honorable mention recognition with his two-goal, one-assist effort with none bigger than his tough-angle goal to break an 8-8 tie. All three of his points came in the second half to spearhead the comeback. His first goal tied the score midway through the third quarter before he assisted on Patrick Corbett’s goal that made it 6-5. In doing so, Fantoni extended his point streak to 38 games dating back to freshman season.
Lehigh moved up to #10 in the media poll, jumping Denver who lost to Loyola Saturday night; in total, four Patriot League squads are in the Nike/Inside Lacrosse Media Poll - Lehigh (10), Colgate (11), Bucknell (18) and Army (20). The Mountain Hawks dropped a spot in the USILA Coaches Poll, but remain as the top-ranked Patriot League team.
The Mountain Hawks wrap up the regular season at Lafayette on Saturday at 2 p.m. Lehigh would clinch the top overall seed and the right to host the Patriot League Tournament should Bucknell beat Colgate Friday night, in a game aired nation-wide on CBS Sports Network. If the Bison win, the Mountain Hawks would earn the #1 seed, regardless of Saturday’s results.