Lehigh Looks to Improve to 3-0, Hosting Villanova
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BETHLEHEM, Pa. - After posting a pair of 13-6 victories, the #17/19 Lehigh men's lacrosse team faces a big test this weekend when the Mountain Hawks welcome 20th ranked Villanova to the Ulrich Sports Complex. Opening faceoff is now set for 2 p.m. on Sunday due to the recent winter storm, and more snow expected on Saturday. This marks Lehigh's final test before Patriot League play begins next weekend at Boston University.
Senior Ryan Buttenbaum and junior Patrick Corbett were two of the standouts vs. Marquette. Buttenbaum posted career highs in faceoffs won (17 in 21 attempts) and groundballs (12). He won all 12 of his first-half draws as the Mountain Hawks dominated time of possession, allowing the offense to break a 2-2 tie by scoring 11 of the next 13 goals to take a 13-4 lead in the fourth quarter. Corbett led the offense with a career-high tying four goals, his second hat trick in as many games. He scored twice in 18 seconds in the third quarter as part of Lehigh's impressive 11-2 run.
Junior Dan Taylor added four points (two goals, two assists) while classmate Kurtis Kaunashad a goal and career-high two assists for a career-high three points. Eleven other Mountain Hawks posted a single point, including the first goals in a Lehigh uniform for senior Cody Newton and junior Pat Dougherty. Defensive midfielders Jimmy Cahill (short-stick) and Dylan O'Shaughnessy (long pole) added goals as well. Senior defenseman Ty Souders posted four groundballs and a caused turnover.
As a team, the Mountain Hawks dominated the ground on the ground with 36 groundballs to Marquette's 18. Lehigh held a 38-27 shot advantage as the defense allowed just six goals for a second straight game.
Lehigh defeated Villanova on the road last season, just one year after falling 17-7 at home. That loss helped turn around the Mountain Hawks' season as the squad won 13 of its next 14 games to win its first-ever Patriot League Tournament Championship and qualify for its first NCAA Tournament. Lehigh earned the #7 overall seed and hosted Maryland in the 2012 NCAA First Round. The Mountain Hawks are 13-3 at home ever since that 10-goal defeat.
Saturday marks Villanova's season opener as the Mountain Hawks will face an opponent in its season opener for a third straight week. Last season, the Wildcats finished 7-8, but did advance to the Big East Championship Game. Saturday marks Lehigh's second straight Big East opponent; the squad will also take on Georgetown in the Relentless Cup on Apr. 12.
Villanova finished 7-8 last season, but did come on as the season progressed to make the Big East Championship Game. The Wildcats went 5-1 in the Big East, including an 11-10 win against #4 Syracuse, to earn the #1 seed in the conference tournament. Villanova defeated Georgetown 15-12 in the semifinals before falling to the Orange 13-9 in the championship game. The Wildcats lost their top two scorers to graduation (Jack Rice and Max Hart) who combined for 57 goals and 11 assists last season. The team's third and fourth leading scorers return in Kevin O'Neil (15 goals, 12 assists) and John Kluh (17 goals, nine assists). Villanova features one of the nation's best long-stick midfielders in John LoCascio who posted incredible stats with 85 groundballs and 53 caused turnovers last season. Thomas Croonquist returns at the faceoff X. He won 55.9 percent a season ago with 107 groundballs. Reed Carlson saw the majority of time in goal last season and returns in 2014 after posting a 10.28 GAA and 47.9 save percentage.
Villanova leads a competitive all-time series, 17-13, but the Mountain Hawks are coming off an 11-9 road win last season. Lehigh's starting attack accounted for nine of the team's 11 goals. The teams have split the last eight meetings. Lehigh's last four wins over Villanova have come by two goals (in 2005), one (in 2008), one (in 2010) and two (last season). The Mountain Hawks earned a thrilling 15-14 double overtime win over Nova in 2010 as Dante Fantoni sent Lehigh home winners. The Wildcats responded with a one-goal win in 2011 followed by a 17-7 win in 2012 which helped turn Lehigh's season around. Lehigh and Villanova first met in 1977, a 5-4 Villanova victory. Lehigh responded with four straight wins from 1978 through 1981.
Lehigh hits the road the next Saturday for its Patriot League opener at Boston University. Opening faceoff is set for 1 p.m.
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VILLANOVA, Pa. - Due to the recent inclement weather and snow that has fallen in southeastern Pennsylvania, the Villanova men's lacrosse season opener against Lehigh has been moved to Sunday, February 16th in Bethlehem, Pa. at Ulrich Sports Complex. Game time is slated for 2 p.m.
The contest was originally slated for Saturday, February 15th at 3 p.m. on the Lehigh University Campus. The Mountain Hawks have already begun their season and have posted two wins over Furman and Marquette both by scores of 13-6. 2014 marks the fourth-straight year that the Wildcats have squared off against Lehigh as their season-opener.
The Wildcats return to the turf after a 7-8 overall record last year and a 5-1 mark in BIG EAST action. Prior to the start of the season, senior John LoCascio (Fairfield, N.J.) was named the BIG EAST Preseason Defensive Player of the Year while classmates Christopher Conroy (Chatham, N.J.) and Chris Piccirilli (Davidsonville, Md.) were been selected to the 2014 All-BIG EAST Preseason Team. Additionally, the team was picked to finish third in the league in the BIG EAST preseason polls as voted upon by the conference coaches.
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