EASTON, Pa. – In its final regular season match, Lehigh received a tough challenge from rival Lafayette but freshman Ben Gilman’s third set triumph at No. 2 singles propelled the Mountain Hawks to a 4-3 win over the Leopards Wednesday on the Sullivan Courts. Lafayette won two of three doubles matches but Lehigh responded, taking four of six singles matches to defeat its rival for the fourth straight season.
With the win Lehigh ends the regular season at 12-7 overall and 4-1 in the Patriot League. The Mountain Hawks had already clinched the No. 2 seed in the upcoming Patriot League Tournament.
“It was an extremely close match but our guys fought through it,” said Lehigh head coach Dave Shook. “Lafayette came to play and their fans created a tough atmosphere. Our freshmen really stepped up and won it. They’ve stepped up all year for us.”
The Mountain Hawks were without sophomore Mark Goldberg, so Shook juggled the lineup a bit.
Lafayette captured wins at No. 2 and No. 3 doubles to capture the doubles point, but Lehigh’s top team of Gilman and junior Matt Savran did pick up an 8-6 win over Doug Gallagher and Andrew Morris.
Savran then pulled Lehigh even with a 6-3, 6-0 win over Will Mercorella at No. 3 singles. Freshman Mitchell Petersen put Lehigh up 2-1 with a straight set win over Gallagher at the top singles flight.
The Leopards tied things at two with a win at No. 4 singles, but freshman DJ Goldblum won 7-5, 7-5 over Andrew Morris at No. 5 singles to put Lehigh back in front 3-2. Lafayette pulled even at 3-3 with a win at No. 6 singles, putting the fate of both teams in the rackets of their No. 2 players.
Brandon Goldstein won the first set from Gilman 6-3, but as he has done all year, Gilman bounced back with a strong finish, taking the final two sets 6-2 and 6-2 to give the Mountain Hawks the victory.
Lehigh will now shift focus to the Patriot League Tournament beginning Friday in Annapolis, Md. The Mountain Hawks will face No. 7 seed Holy Cross at noon in the second of three quarterfinal matches from the USNA Tennis Courts.
Lehigh 4, Lafayette 3
1. Gilman/Savran (LU) def. Gallagher/Morris (LC) 8-6
2. Mercorella/Gelbman (LC) def. Petersen/Krentz (LU) 8-3
3. Goldstein/Oliver (LC) def. Chernykh/Rauza (LU) 8-4
Order of finish: 2, 3, 1
1. Mitchell Petersen (LU) def. Doug Gallagher (LC) 6-3, 6-3
2. Ben Gilman (LU) def. Brandon Goldstein (LC) 3-6, 6-2, 6-2
3. Matt Savran (LU) def. Will Mercorella (LC) 6-3, 6-0
4. James Oliver (LC) def. Andrew Krentz (LU) 6-4, 6-4
5. DJ Goldblum (LU) def. Andrew Morris (LC) 7-5, 7-5
6. Scott Gelbman (LC) def. Timur Chernykh (LU) 6-4, 6-4
Order of finish: 3, 1, 4, 6, 5, 2