Lehigh Women Release 2014 Schedule
from Press Release
BETHLEHEM, Pa - Lehigh's head women's lacrosse coach Jill Redfern released the Mountain Hawk's 2014 schedule on Tuesday which features a pair of reigning NCAA Tournament teams who finished in the top 15 in the final national rankings. Lehigh will play 16 regular season games, nine at home and seven on the road. The Mountain Hawks are eying a return to the Patriot League Tournament after making five straight tournaments from 2007 through 2011.
This year's schedule features several teams not on last year's schedule: Wagner, Mount St. Mary's, New Hampshire, Bryant, California and the Patriot League's newest additions Loyola and Boston University. Loyola finished last season ranked 10th in the country, losing in the second round of the NCAA tournament to eventual National Champion North Carolina.
"The addition of Loyola and BU to our Patriot League schedule provides terrific opportunities," said Redfern. "Competing with these programs, as well as our traditional league rivals, makes for an exciting 2014. We have some different nonleague teams on our schedule as well which presents unique challenges to compete and improve every game."
Lehigh opens its season at home against Wagner on Saturday, Feb. 15 at 12 p.m. at the Ulrich Sports Complex. The Mountain Hawks will remain at home for their next two games, facing Mount St. Mary's on Feb. 22 (1 p.m.) and Binghamton on Tuesday, the 25th (3:30 p.m.).
Lehigh will hit the road for the first time to face the New Hampshire Wildcats on Saturday Mar. 1 before heading to Connecticut to play Fairfield two days later.
The Mountain will then play three games in an eight-day span. It begins with the Patriot League opener vs. Bucknell (Mar.8) before a second straight home game as they host Bryant on Mar. 10. Lehigh will hit the road on Mar. 15 for a big Patriot League showdown at Colgate.
League play continues against archrival Lafayette on Wednesday, Mar. 19 at 7 p.m. The Mountain Hawks then head to new Patriot League foe Loyola on Mar. 22 before hosting California on Wednesday, Mar. 30.
After a nonleague tilt at Yale, Lehigh wraps up its season with four straight Patriot League games. The Mountain Hawks head to Boston University (Apr. 5) and Navy (Apr. 9) before closing the regular season against American (Apr. 12) and Holy Cross (Apr. 19) on consecutive Saturdays.
With the addition of the two new teams, the Patriot League Tournament has expanded from four to six teams. The top two teams will receive a bye into the semifinals while first round games will be played mid-week at the higher seeded teams. The two advancing teams will join the top two seeds for the semifinals. Like in the past, the regular season champion and top seed will host both seminal and the championship game.
The Mountain Hawks are eying their sixth Patriot League Tournament appearance in the last eight seasons.
Lehigh returns four of its top five scorers from a season ago, led by junior and two-time All-Patriot League honoree Carli Sukonik who posted 25 goals and three assists in 11 games last season. Sophomore Megan Paytas had 22 points (11 goals, 11 assists), sophomore Kendall Garden 16 (13 goals, three assists) and senior Chelsea Retaleato 11 (eight goals, three assists).
Junior All-Patriot League honoree Lauren Willcox helps spearhead the defense, posting a team-high 18 caused turnovers last season. Senior Alexandra Fitzpatrick returns in goal after starting all 16 games a season ago. She posted a 12.13 GAA and 42.3 save percentage after coming back from injury. Fitzpatrick was one of the nation's best goalkeepers as a freshman, owning an 8.66 GAA and 50.6 save percentage.