Posted: 03/23/2012 | Last updated: March 23, 2012 at 05:16 PM
BETHLEHEM, Pa. - Following two straight road contests, the Lehigh women’s lacrosse team returns home Saturday for a big matchup against the archrival Lafayette Leopards. Opening draw at the Ulrich Sports Complex is set for 7 p.m. It marks the team’s third Patriot League game of the season and first at home after falling at Colgate, then bouncing back to beat Bucknell.
Saturday will serve as a special “Rivals for a Cure” game to raise awareness for breast cancer research. The game proves significant for both teams in the Patriot League standings; the Mountain Hawks are tied for third while the Leopards are just a half game behind.
Lehigh’s win streak ended at two with Wednesday’s 11-8 setback to Fairfield. Despite a 5-4 halftime lead, the Mountain Hawks surrendered seven second-half goals, which proved to be the difference. Lehigh outshot the Stags, 33-21, but struggled to find the back of the net. Seniors Leigh Ann Torcivia and Lauren Murray, along with sophomore Chelsea Retaleato each scored two goals apiece. Torcivia also led the team in shots (8), assists (2), ground balls (5) and draw controls (5). Reteleato showed no rust in her first game of the season, also registering four shots and the Mountain Hawks’ first goal.
Junior MaryLeah DiNisco continued her solid play between the pipes, recording at least seven saves for the third consecutive game; she now has 30 of the team’s 64 saves this season.
Murray is tied for third on the team in goals (12), ranks fourth in shots (26) and fifth in points (14). Murray is one of four players with at least 11 draw controls this season. Freshman Carli Sukonik (30), Torcivia (24) and junior Julie McBrien (19) are the others.
A much-improved Lafayette team (6-4, 0-1 PL) has already eclipsed last season’s win total. The Leopards are coming off a 15-9 victory over Monmouth, which was the fourth time they’ve scored at least 15 goals this season. Lafayette is averaging 12.5 goals per game on average.
The Leopards are led offensively by junior Addie Godfrey and sophomore Ana White. Godfrey leads the team in points (33), goals (32) and shots (58). Godfrey earned the league’s first Player of the Week award this season after her five-goal performance against Liberty. Meanwhile, White fills up the stat sheet, doing a little bit of everything. She has won the league’s Midfielder of the Week award twice this season. She is second on the team in points (32) and shots (39), and tied for second in goals (18). White’s 64 draw controls are by far the most on the team.
The Mountain Hawks have won five straight against their rivals and lead the all-time series, 22-20. Lehigh won last year’s meeting between the teams, 18-9, spearheaded by an 11-2 start. Lauren Dykstra led the way with seven goals and one assist as the Mountain Hawks outshot the Leopards, 29-16. The teams first met in 1975 and have played every year, except 1989, since.
Lehigh will return to action Tuesday at Villanova. The Mountain Hawks then head to American on Saturday (Mar. 31) before returning to the Ulrich Sports Complex for four straight home games to close out the regular season.