Lehigh drops hard-fought battle to #18/19 Army, 7-5

BETHLEHEM, Pa. – The Lehigh men’s lacrosse team faced a four-goal deficit early in the fourth quarter before pulling within two, but wasn’t able to complete the comeback as #18/19 Army earned a 7-5 win Saturday afternoon at the Ulrich Sports Complex. Senior Kurtis Kaunas scored two of Lehigh’s goals while junior Reid Weber dished a pair of assists as both Mountain Hawks finished with a team-best two points. Freshman Adam Sawicki finished with eight saves in goal.

“I thought today was a typical Lehigh-Army game in that it was an absolute slugfest and defensive battle,” said Lehigh head coach Kevin Cassese. “It was what we expected and I give them all the credit in the world because they came up with some big groundballs and big faceoffs. We’ve battled consistently and that’s a trait that we pride ourselves on, but at the end of the day, it’s not enough and we need to find a way to win.”

Junior Tripp Telesco helped lead the Lehigh defense with five groundballs and three caused turnovers. Sophomore Ian Strain tallied a career and game-high seven groundballs while senior Sam Lawrence caused a pair of turnovers. Weber added five groundballs.

Army’s Cole Johnson opened the scoring at 12:48 of the first quarter on a pass through traffic from Gunnar Miller to put the Black Knights on the board. Lehigh answered just over a minute later as Kaunas dodged down the right side to score an unassisted goal and tie the score at one with 11:33 on the clock. The Black Knights countered with goals from Johnson and Alex Newsome at the 6:09 and 2:18 marks to take a 3-1 lead at the end of the first quarter.

Lehigh outshot Army 7-3 in the first 13 minutes of the second quarter, but neither team could find the back of the net until the Black Knights’ John Glessner broke the game’s scoreless streak with 2:57 left on the second-quarter clock and Army carried a 4-1 lead into halftime.

Senior Dan Taylor opened the second-half scoring when he dodged around the left side of the goal and put a pass from Weber past Army goalie Sam Somers to pull the Mountain Hawks within two at 4-2 at the 11:16 mark of the third quarter. Sawicki came up with two big saves in the next three minutes, but a goal from Army’s Connor Cook with 4:27 left in the third quarter put the Black Knights back up by three at 5-2.

The Mountain Hawks answered less than two minutes later as Weber fed senior Patrick Corbett who put the ball past Somers to pull the Mountain Hawks back within two at 5-3. The Black Knights took advantage of a man-up situation with a minute left in the quarter as Jimbo Moore found the back of the net to give Army a 6-3 advantage through three quarters.

The Black Knights stretched their lead to four less than a minute into the final quarter, but junior Alex Eaton buried a goal at the 12:05 mark before Kaunas scored a man-up goal and his second of the day on a pass from freshman Nolan Apers to narrow the Army advantage to 7-5 with just over ten minutes to play.

The Mountain Hawks outshot Army 11-1 in the final ten minutes of the game, but Somers came up with three big saves, including two stops of point-blank Corbett chances in the final minute, as Army walked away with the 7-5 win.

Final shots were 35-22 in favor of Lehigh while Army held a 31-27 groundball advantage. Both Sawicki and Somers finished with eight saves.

Next up, Lehigh embarks on a three-game road trip beginning with a game at Monmouth Tuesday at 3 p.m. before heading to Holy Cross for a Patriot League matchup next Saturday at 3 p.m.

Like Lehigh men’s lacrosse on Facebook and follow on Twitter for continued updates on the Mountain Hawks.

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