April 1, 2011

Lenigh Renews Rivalry with Penn State

from press release

BETHLEHEM, Pa.
- After back-to-back victories over Holy Cross and Binghamton, the Lehigh men's lacrosse team looks for its first three-game winning streak of the season when it hosts cross-state rival and 20th nationally ranked Penn State on Saturday. Faceoff is set for 1 p.m. at the Ulrich Sports Complex prior to the women's game against American later that afternoon.

Saturday was supposed to mark the Mountain Hawks' first of two games in Goodman Stadium, but it had to be moved due to predicted inclement weather. It will still be a ticketed event with tickets on sale for $5 for the general public, faculty and staff while students and groups are $3. Tickets may be purchased on Lehighsports.com or by calling 610-7LU-GAME.

Lehigh will be searching for an elusive top-20 win. The Mountain Hawks have hung tough against four teams currently ranked in the top 20, including a slim 9-8 loss at No. 8 Villanova. The squad stayed within three of No. 9 Army while dropping 10-6 and 11-7 decisions against No. 15 Yale and No. 17 Ohio State, respectively. Lehigh is looking for its first top-20 win since defeating No. 9 Villanova and No. 19 Lafayette in succession to end last season.

The Mountain Hawks are coming off a strong 13-7 victory over a talented Binghamton squad, who entered with a 4-4 record, which included a win over Colgate. After a slow beginning, junior Roman Lao-Gosney broke the ice with his first of a career-high three goals at 1:00 of the first quarter. The Mountain Hawks went on to open an 8-0 lead until the Bearcats made a game of it, pulling within 10-7. However, Lehigh erased any doubt with the game's final three goals. Sophomore David DiMaria impressed with five points to tie a career high (three goals, two assists) while classmate Dante Fantoni posted four (two goals, two assists).

Senior Richard Bradley led a stout Mountain Hawk defense, registering a season-high seven groundballs and five caused turnovers to help hold Binghamton scoreless for the game's first 27:03. It marked the fifth straight game that the Mountain Hawks held their opponent scoreless for a stretch of at least 15 minutes. At Holy Cross, Lehigh went 26:43 before allowing the Crusaders' first goal. This came one game after holding Army scoreless for a stretch of 20:22. The game prior, the Mountain Hawks didn't allow a goal to Presbyterian for the game's final 37:33. On Mar. 12, Lehigh's defense shut down a high-powered Yale attack, which had one stretch 15:01 bridging the first and second quarters between goals.

Led by new head coach Jeff Tambroni, the Nittany Lions have enjoyed a resurgent season after a tough 2-11 campaign a year ago. The former Cornell coach has helped lead Penn State to a 4-4 record, which includes a road win over nationally-ranked UMass along with close losses to ranked teams Notre Dame, Ohio State and Bucknell.

Leading the charge is freshman goalie Austin Kaut, who caught the nation's attention after a 25-save performance to lead his squad to a win over UMass. He owns an impressive 7.66 GAA and .659 save percentage for the season. Shane Sturgis leads the offense with a team-high 12 goals, 10 assists and 22 points. Two others have reached double figures as Matt Mackrides has 15 (eight goals, seven assists) and Kyle Vanthof comes in with 10 (five goals, five assists). Faceoff man Danny Henneghan leads the team with 33 groundballs while winning 73-of-145 (.503) at the X.

Penn State owns a 31-7 lead in the all-time series, which includes 13 straight victories dating back to Lehigh's last win in 1971. The teams last played in 2000, a 15-12 Nittany Lion victory. The Mountain Hawks won the first two meetings, back in 1915 (10-2) and 1917 (14-1) with their best stretch coming from 1960-71 when they won five of 12 contests. The teams have met only twice since the formation of the Patriot League - in 1999 and 2000.

The Mountain Hawks remain home for a crucial Patriot League showdown next Saturday (Apr. 9) vs. Colgate under the lights at the Ulrich Sports Complex. Faceoff is set for 7 p.m.


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