BETHLEHEM, Pa. – The Lehigh men’s lacrosse team tied for the nation’s biggest improvement in 2012, according to LaxPower’s computer rankings which were released on Wednesday. The Mountain Hawks tied UMass at plus 23 when comparing the final power rankings of 2011 to 2012. The computer ratings taking into account many of the factors used by the NCAA Tournament selection committee, including strength of schedule, RPI, quality wins and more.
This improvement comes one season after Lehigh posted the nation’s eighth biggest improvement. The Mountain Hawks jumped from 32nd (last season) to ninth in the final power rankings, tied with UMass who jumped from 24th to first. For the complete list of computer rankings and changes, please click here.
Lehigh propelled into the national spotlight this season, posting a program record 14 wins which included a nine-game winning streak and the team’s first-ever Patriot League Tournament Title and NCAA Tournament appearance. The Mountain Hawks owned the nation’s second-ranked scoring defense (6.82 goals per game) and top man-up offense (54.2 percent).
The squad beat #4 North Carolina on Mar. 3 to jump into the national rankings, where it would remain for the remainder of the season. The Mountain Hawks stood as high as fourth in the USILA Coaches Poll following the regular season. They finished 8-3 against teams nationally-ranked at the time of the game while beating UNC, Yale and Colgate who all advanced to the NCAA Tournament themselves.
Lehigh played toe-to-toe with national semifinalist Maryland in the NCAA Tournament, succumbing to a goal with only six seconds remaining. The Terrapins went on to top #2 seed Johns Hopkins 11-5 to earn a berth in this weekend’s National Semifinals at Gillette Stadium. The excitement around the program has never been higher; that game drew a facility record 2,278 fans, the third highest total among the eight NCAA First Round Games. This came after a then-record 2,096 in the home finale against Bucknell on Apr. 14.
The Mountain Hawks return their top two scorers in David DiMaria and Dante Fantoni while the entire defense returns along with Patriot League Goalie of the Year Matt Poillon as Lehigh looks to continue the momentum into 2013.