Lehigh welcomed the nation’s No. 6 ranked offense and No. 12 ranked team to Bethlehem on Tuesday night. Following the 16-6 drubbing courtesy of Stony Brook University at Ulrich Sports Complex, the Mountain Hawks learned in harsh fashion as to why the Seawolves are worthy of their ranking.
The lopsided loss marks the second straight defeat for Lehigh (5-4, 3-2 Patriot) after the team dropped its game against No. 14/16 ranked Navy last week by a score of 12-7. Lehigh was without a number of key contributors to last season’s 12-11 victory of Stony Brook on Tuesday night.
In addition to junior midfielder Jason Kozel, who is out for the season with a knee injury, the Hawks were down senior midfielder Ray Mastroianni, sophomore midfielder/faceoff specialist Matt Ernst and senior defenseman Casey Eidenshink against Stony Brook.
Inserting a young lineup against the highly touted Seawolves (7-2, 1-1), the Mountain Hawks fell behind quickly, trailing 10-3 at the end of the first half.
“I don’t think that it was ever in question,” Lehigh coach Kevin Cassese said. “I thought Stony Brook came in and played really well. They got a fast start and they got a fast finish.”
Freshman goalie Chris Kiernan was replaced by sophomore goalkeeper Adam Sawicki after surrendering 13 goals on 19 shots on target through the first three quarters. The offense suffered a similar lack of production as the defense in the contest, as junior attackman Matt Raposo’s two goals for Lehigh served as one of the few bright spots for the Mountain Hawks.
Lehigh had no answer for the Seawolves’ tandem of junior attackman Ryan Bitzer and senior midfielder Challen Rodgers. Bitzer notched five goals and an assist on the victory while Rodgers added a pair of goals and five assists, as the Seawolves cruised past their season-average of 13.25 goals per contest.
“I think they were a good team – all the credit in the world to them,” Raposo said. “Their offense was just clicking on all cylinders tonight, and I think we had trouble stopping them and we had trouble offensively as well.”
For Raposo and the rest of the team, a quick turnaround is in motion to prepare for Saturday’s league contest at Boston University. Lehigh barely edged out the now-third year program by a score 10-9 last season in Bethlehem. The Terriers (8-2, 3-1 Patriot) are winners of five of their last six contests and have only surrendered one loss at home this season.
“We have to get back to the drawing board and come out with more energy,” Raposo said. “I think Saturday is going to be less about the schemes and more about us coming in hot and with a lot of energy.”
Following Lehigh’s game in Boston on Saturday, the Mountain Hawks will return home to host Loyola University (Maryland) on Saturday, April 9 in Goodman Stadium – home of Lehigh’s football team.