Beating the same team twice in a season is no easy task. Having to beat the same team twice in five days is even harder.
After defeating Bucknell University 12-4 in its regular season finale Friday, senior attacker Allison LaBeau recorded a Patriot League Tournament record 11 points as the Lehigh women’s lacrosse team earned a dominant 15-5 victory over the Bison in the Patriot League Quarterfinals on Tuesday night.
Coach Jill Redfern and the team were aware of the difficulties that come with playing a team twice in such a short span of time and emphasized treating Tuesday night’s contest as a brand new game.
“I think we learned a lot throughout the season that every half is different and each game is different, so even though it was the same opponent that we got a victory over on Friday, we knew we had to bring our best game to win,” Redfern said.
The team did bring its best with an overall superior offensive performance, including LaBeau’s record-setting game. LaBeau tallied five goals and six assists, which also was the Patriot League Tournament record for most assists in a game. The 11 points also placed LaBeau in seventh place for most points in the country this season.
“It’s exciting to have a good game in the tournament and contribute to the team’s success in moving forward to the semifinals,” LaBeau said. “It’s a credit to my teammates who are so great at creating space and giving me opportunities to score or finishing the ball off assists.”
LaBeau and the Mountain Hawks opened the game with a fast start and led 6-0 within the game’s first 13 minutes. Bucknell finally got its first shot on goal and recorded its first point with 16:21 remaining in the first half to make the score 6-1, but LaBeau then scored three straight goals to stretch Lehigh’s lead to 9-1 with less than three minutes in the half. At halftime, the Mountain Hawks led 10-2.
In a second half that allowed the team to rest many of its starters, the Mountain Hawks limited Bucknell to only three goals and scored five more goals of their own to bring the final score to 15-5.
Overall, Lehigh took 41 shots on goal compared to only 12 for Bucknell. In addition to LaBeau’s five goals, freshman Sondra Dickey and sophomores Kellie Gough, Jane Henderson and Courtney Henig each scored two goals on the day. Senior Lauren Beausoleil and junior Haley Wentzel also added a goal apiece.
This scoring offense was sparked by gaining a 28-15 advantage on ground balls and winning 16 out of 21 draw controls, which allowed the Mountain Hawks to control time of possession and gave the Bison few opportunities to score.
“The draw control is one of the most important statistics in women’s lacrosse — you can usually tell who’s going to win a game based on the draw,” senior goalkeeper Taylor Tvedt said. “I thought this area of our play was awesome.”
LaBeau and Tvedt both also credited using the 90-second possession clock to the team’s advantage as an important factor in the win and something to build on in the next round of the tournament.
“The fact that there’s a 90-second shot clock limits our time of possession, but I thought we did a good job of not taking the first looks on offense, but holding the ball and waiting for the perfect opportunity to score,” Tvedt said. “That’s something we’ll have to do Friday as well.”
The team will next travel to Loyola University on Friday for a semifinal matchup against Navy at 7:45 p.m. A victory would advance Lehigh to the Patriot League Championship game for the first time since 2010.