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Mountain Hawks hang tough in 10-6 loss to #16 Loyola

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BETHLEHEM, Pa. – The Lehigh women’s lacrosse team hung right with defending Patriot League Champion and #16 nationally-ranked Loyola, going down by just two at the half and pulling back within three with 6:51 still remaining, but the Greyhounds were able to pull out the 10-6 victory on Saturday. Senior Carli Sukonik and freshman Kierstyn Voiro each scored twice to lead the Lehigh offense while sophomore Taylor Tvedt made eight saves in a strong effort between the pipes.

“I’m proud of our effort today,” said Lehigh head coach Jill Redfern. “I think it was a great lacrosse game. For the large majority of the time, we played hard and played well. We had some turnovers, which they were able to capitalize on.”

Junior Kendall Garden added a goal, assist, groundball and two caused turnovers while seniors Michelle Abramczyk and Lauren Willcox each caused a pair of turnovers as well.

Loyola scored the first two goals as Hannah Schmitt made it 2-0 Greyhounds with 26:24 on the first-half clock. Voiro got Lehigh on the board on the fast break, taking a feed from Willcox and beating Loyola goalie Molly Wolf with 21:30 left in the half. After a Loyola goal, Sukonik scored her first of the game to pull her squad within 3-2 with 14:48 on the clock.

The Greyhounds scored the next two goals, but Sukonik scored her second off a feed from Garden to pull Lehigh within 5-3 at the half.

Loyola began the second half with three straight goals, but the Mountain Hawks made one last charge. Sophomore Lauren Beausoleil and Voiro finished free position goals to pull Lehigh within 8-5 with 6:51 remaining. Garden added a goal off a nifty feed from junior Krista Dampman to pull within 9-6 as Loyola added a late goal for the 10-6 final.

“Our players know they can play with the best. Now we have to believe that we can beat the best and that’s the next hurdle for us to get over,” said Redfern. “I really hope this is a turning point for this team, to recognize the potential that they have and deliver on it every single day.”

Final shots were 25-13 in favor of the Greyhounds while Loyola held a 19-11 edge in groundballs and 10-8 advantage in draw controls. Tvedt’s eight saves came across Wolf who made five.

The Mountain Hawks now hit the road next week for three contests in five days. Lehigh travels to Bucknell on Tuesday (5 p.m.) before heading to Mount St. Mary’s Thursday (4 p.m.) and Bryant Saturday (12 p.m.).

“We really need to stay focused and keep ourselves healthy,” said Redfern. “Off the field, what we’re doing is really important to compete well. We want to use as many players as we can and have a good strategy as far as not running up and down the entire game with that many games in a week.”

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