PHILADELPHIA, Pa. – The Lehigh men’s lacrosse team used a dominant overall effort to pull off an impressive 10-4 win over #19/18 Penn Tuesday night. The Mountain Hawks’ (3-1) defense extended its shutout streak to 90:14 and forced 16 of the Quakers’ (0-2) 18 turnovers. Junior David DiMaria led the way with a season-high five points (two goals, three assists) while freshmen Patrick Corbett and Dan Taylor scored two goals apiece.
“I was proud of the way our guys played throughout the game,” said Lehigh head coach Kevin Cassese. “We’ve had a lot of discussion over the last week and a half. It really took a big wakeup call [after Villanova]. We had to look inward and see what we’re all about.
“I thought tonight was the right representation of Lehigh Lacrosse,” Cassese continued. “That’s a very good Penn team over there.”
The Mountain Hawks’ defense was the story, holding Penn without a goal until 5:04 of the second quarter. Lehigh then held the Quakers to only one more goal until Penn added two scores with less than one minute remaining. But by that time, the Mountain Hawks had opened a 10-2 lead to erase any doubt.
Taylor added one assist to tie a career-high three points while senior Cameron Lao-Gosney also added three via two goals and an assist. Senior Roman Lao-Gosney and junior Kyle Stiefel added Lehigh’s other goals.
The win marked Lehigh’s first over a ranked foe since the final two games of 2010 when the squad defeated #9 Villanova and #19 Lafayette in succession. It was also over a Penn squad who advanced to the 2011 NCAA Tournament.
Defense was the story of the first half, as neither side could find the back of the net until Corbett struck on man-up, taking a feed from Taylor and scoring with 4:03 left in the first quarter.
Taylor made it 2-0 early in the second before Corbett made it 3-0 just 2:24 later. Penn’s John Conneely ended Lehigh’s shutout streak at 90:14 with a goal at 5:04 of the second quarter, but Taylor scored his second, from DiMaria, to make it 4-1 at the half.
Lehigh continued the momentum into the second. After trading the first two goals, the Mountain Hawks scored five in a row, beginning with a rocket of a shot from Roman Lao-Gosney and ending with two straight scores from his twin brother Cameron. In the process, the Lehigh defense kept Penn off the scoreboard for 19:54 until the Quakers scored two with less than one minute remaining for the 10-4 final.
The Mountain Hawks held a 33-20 edge in shots and 32-20 in groundballs. Lehigh had a season-high 16 caused turnovers, led by a career-high four from sophomore Lukas Mikelinich. Junior Noah Molnar tied a career-high three while Corbett and sophomore Mike Noone added two each.
Junior Ryan Snyder was dominant once again in the faceoff X, winning 12-of-17 with eight groundballs. Sophomore Ty Souders scooped a career-high four groundballs as well.
Freshman Matt Poillon continued his strong play between the pipes, finishing with seven saves across Brian Feeney, who made eight. Poillon has now allowed four goals or fewer in three of the four games this season.
Lehigh will continue on the road when it heads to #4 North Carolina Saturday for a 7:30 p.m. faceoff. The Mountain Hawks then head to VMI on Mar. 6 before returning home to the Ulrich Sports Complex to host #18 Yale on Sunday, Mar. 11.
“We have zero time to enjoy this,” said Cassese. “We have a quick turnaround. Two days of practice and hop on the bus again Friday and get our spring break started with the Tar Heels. They’re firing on all cylinders; they’re a tremendous team. We have to get ready for the next game.”