BETHLEHEM, Pa. – Following a tough season-opening loss to Marquette, the #16/18 Lehigh men’s lacrosse team will vie for its first win of the season when the Mountain Hawks travel to Furman Saturday. Opening faceoff in Greenville, South Carolina is set for 11 a.m. This marks the second straight season that Lehigh plays at Furman. The Mountain Hawks opened the 2014 season with a 13-6 victory over the Paladins.
Saturday features a pair of coaches for the U.S. National Team in Furman’s Richie Meade (who’s the Team USA head coach) and Lehigh’s Kevin Cassese (one of his assistants). The duo led the U.S. to the Championship Game of the World Lacrosse Championships this past summer. Meade is the former head coach at Navy.
Lehigh scored the game’s first two goals against Marquette Saturday, but the Golden Eagles responded with the next three and wouldn’t trail the rest of the game. The Mountain Hawks pulled even at three, but Marquette opened a 7-4 lead. Lehigh got back within one on three occasions (8-7, 9-8 and 10-9), but couldn’t pull even. The offense came alive down the stretch, scoring five goals over the game’s final 17:32 after tallying just four in the first 42:28. Senior Dan Taylor sparked the offense, finishing with five points (three goals, two assists), including three points over those final 17 minutes.
Junior Reid Weber scored two goals, as did senior Kurtis Kaunas. Sophomore Ian Strain had two points (one goal, one assist) in his first collegiate game while classmate Matt Raposo dished two assists in his first-career start. The Lehigh defense impressed in the early going, holding Marquette scoreless over the game’s first 16:40. Senior Lukas Mikelinich had four groundballs and a caused turnover while a pair of senior defensive midfielders combined for five caused turnovers. Sam Lawrence had a game-high three while Jack Bogorowski finished with two, to go with three groundballs. Senior Matt Poillon made eight saves in goal while sophomore Casey McAdam won 11-of-23 faceoffs with five groundballs.
The loss snapped a five-game winning streak in season openers and snapped a four-game win streak vs. the Big East. Marquette finished the 2014 season with a 4-2 conference record, good for second place in the Big East standings, only behind National Semifinalist Denver.
The Mountain Hawks have won their first road game of the season the last three years. The last loss came on Feb. 19, 2011, 9-8 at Villanova.
Furman went 1-12 in its inaugural season, but was very competitive in its games. The one victory came over VMI in double overtime while the Paladins had close losses to Mercer, Jacksonville and NCAA Tournament team Richmond. The Paladins dropped last week’s season opener to #5 North Carolina, 19-4. Jonah Moore scored two of Furman’s goals while Zach Coker dished a pair of assists. Stephen Wierzbicki also tallied a goal and assist while the Paladins were competitive at the faceoff X, winning 12-of-25. Jake Galvin made nine saves on 25 shots over the first 38:30 while Reilly McDermott had four saves on seven shots.
Saturday will mark the second-ever meeting between Lehigh and Furman. The Mountain Hawks outscored the Paladins 4-1 in both the second and third quarters to turn a 2-2 tie into a 10-4 lead after three quarters of play, on their way to a 13-6 season-opening victory. Weber was one of three Mountain Hawks to record hat tricks
The Mountain Hawks will open Patriot League play next Saturday (Feb. 21) when they host Boston University at 1 p.m.