Lehigh Beats Navy for First Time Since 1918
from press release
BETHLEHEM, Pa. – Down 8-6 early in the fourth quarter, the Lehigh men's lacrosse team responded in a big way, scoring six straight goals to lead the Mountain Hawks to a thrilling 14-10 win over Navy on Tuesday evening. The win marked Lehigh's first over Navy since 1913, snapping a 26-game losing streak against the Midshipmen. Junior Adam Johnston led the offensive charge with four goals while sophomore Dante Fantoni added five points via two goals and a career-high three assists. With the win, Lehigh moves to 2-1 on the season and 1-0 in Patriot League play.
"This is a great win," said head coach Kevin Cassese. "We talked a lot about the history of this matchup. The all-time series was certainly tilted in their favor. To get it back in our favor - at least one time - is a great feeling."
Johnston scored a pair of goals in each half for his eighth-career hat trick. Fantoni scored the game-tying and go-ahead goals late in the third quarter for a 9-8 advantage, giving Lehigh a lead it wouldn't relinquish.
The 14 goals were the most the Navy defense has allowed in 13 games dating back to last season. The Midshipmen entered Tuesday allowing only 27 goals over their first three contests.
"When you grow up, you hear about Navy," said Fantoni. "They were good, but we were better tonight. It's a big confidence boost to know we can play with anyone."
Navy came back from a 6-5 halftime deficit with three straight goals, including a quick strike from Sam Jones at 9:04 of the third quarter. Cassese immediately called timeout to stop the momentum. The Mountain Hawks responded only 1:17 later when senior Jonathan Stumpf scored, beginning a 6-0 run bridging the third and fourth quarters.
"The team responded," said Cassese. "They played emotionally and realized they had a chance to win the game. Commend the guys for stepping up to the challenge."
Stumpf tied a career high with four points via two goals and two assists. Junior Cameron Lao-Gosney also added three points via two goals and an assist while sophomore David DiMaria scored two goals and junior Roman Lao-Gosney added a goal and assist.
Sophomore Ryan Snyder continued his tremendous play at the faceoff X, winning 18-of-27 while scooping a career-high 13 ground balls. The nation's leader in faceoff percentage and ground balls per game, Snyder is now up to 35 ground balls through the first three contests. He has also won 73.9 of his draws (51-of-69).
Sophomore Dan Carr also impressed with 11 saves, including nine after halftime. He made numerous big saves during Navy's 12:30 second-half scoreless drought.
Navy was led by Sam Jones, who scored five points (four goals, one assist). Andy Warner added three behind two goals and an assist.
A back-and-forth first half saw the teams trade the first four goals. DiMaria gave the Mountain Hawks their second straight with 4:04 to go in the first quarter to give Lehigh its first of the evening, 3-2. The teams responded by trading the next six goals as Lehigh took a 6-5 lead into the half. Cameron Lao-Gosney took a nice feed from his brother Roman to give Lehigh the one-goal advantage after 30 minutes. It marked the Mountain Hawks' second man-up goal of the quarter after not converting a man-up tally in their first two games.
Navy responded in the second with the first three goals to take an 8-5 lead, including two Jones tallies in the span of 37 seconds, prompting Cassese to call timeout. Stumpf then scored his second of the evening at 7:47 to get the run started. He later made a nifty feed to Fantoni for his first of the game to tie the score at 8-8 with 5:27 remaining.
Fantoni put Lehigh up for good with a tough angle shot, somehow finding a way to beat Navy goaltender RJ Wickham to make it 9-8 with 1:06 on the third-quarter clock. Snyder made it 10-8 only six seconds later, winning the ensuing faceoff cleanly and coming down to beat Wickham.
The run continued into the fourth as DiMaria and Johnston both scored to make it 12-8 with 12:56 remaining. The Midshipmen responded just over a minute later, but the Mountain Hawks added two more tallies to make it 14-9, effectively putting the game away.
Navy held the 35-32 edge in shots while Lehigh finished with 32 ground balls to Navy's 24. The Midshipmen were 14-of-16 on clears while the Mountain Hawks were 12-of-19. Lehigh finished 2-of-4 on man-up opportunities to Navy's 1-of-5.
"It's uncharted territory for us," said Cassese. "To start 1-0 in the Patriot League is exciting, but we have plenty of work to do. We're shifting our focus to the next game. It's a great win, but we have a lot of work ahead of us."
The Mountain Hawks return to action on Sunday when they travel to face Detroit Mercy. Faceoff is set for 2 p.m. Lehigh will then remain on the road to play at No. 12 Ohio State next Tuesday (Mar. 8) at 7 p.m.