WASHINGTON, D.C. - The Lehigh women’s lacrosse team took a 7-3 first-half advantage, but American used a 6-0 run to take a lead it wouldn’t relinquish as the Eagles (7-5, 3-1 Patriot League) downed the Mountain Hawks (6-6, 2-2), 18-15 on Saturday afternoon. Freshman Carli Sukonik tied a career-high eight points behind seven goals and an assist to lead the offense while junior Julie McBrien added four goals of her own.
Saturday marked Lehigh’s final road game of the season as it returns home for two nonleague contests before hosting Holy Cross and Navy in crucial league clashes to close out the regular season.
“I thought their run towards the end of the first half was the difference in the game,” said Lehigh head coach Jill Redfern. “You can’t let someone reel off six in a row and expect to win.”
Lehigh enjoyed a strong start, taking a 7-3 lead at 14:16 of the first after Sukonik scored her fourth of the game. The Mountain Hawks opened up with a scoring barrage, taking a 3-0 advantage just 3:12 in behind a goal from McBrien and two straight from Sukonik. American then used a 6-0 run to open up a 9-7 lead, but sophomore Chelsea Retaleato answered with an unassisted goal at the 3:40 mark to pull within one at the half.
The Eagles began the second with three straight goals, and seven of the first nine, to take a 16-10 lead with 12:48 remaining. But the Mountain Hawks wouldn’t quit, as Sukonik posted a “natural hat trick,” scoring three in a row, at 12:14, 9:22 and 9:00, to pull Lehigh right back within 16-13 with ample time still remaining.
Lehigh had chances to cut further into the deficit, but were unable to pull any closer than three. The teams traded goals in the final 31 seconds to account for the 18-15 final.
“We pressed them, but we didn’t capitalize on some caused turnovers that we came up with,” said Redfern. “We couldn’t put it away then they came back with goals of their own.”
American led the final shot count, 29-23 and in groundballs, 21-17. Lehigh was 6-for-7 on free position shots to the Eagles’ 3-of-8. Junior MaryLeah DiNisco finished with nine saves for the Mountain Hawks while Kaska Komosinski made six for American.
Sukonik added a team-high five draw controls while junior Kenzie Dambach was also strong on defense, coming up with three groundballs.
“Kenzie anchors our defense back there,” said Redfern. “She was really aggressive. She had a couple big plays when we needed them.”
Lehigh returns home for four straight to end the regular season, beginning next Saturday against New Hampshire. The Mountain Hawks will then host Penn State on Apr. 11 before returning to Patriot League action on Apr. 14 vs. Holy Cross.