Freshman attackman/midfielder Mickey Fitzpatrick attempts to score against New Jersey Institute of Technology on Saturday, Feb. 6, 2016. Lehigh is searching for its first win against Loyola University (Maryland) in program history. (Hallie Fuchs/B&W Staff)

Lehigh men’s lacrosse searches for historic first win against Loyola

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The Lehigh men’s lacrosse team will attempt to redeem itself this weekend as it takes on the Loyola University (Maryland) Greyhounds, a team the Mountain Hawks have never beaten.

Being the team’s alumni game day and playing with the home field advantage, the Hawks hope to finally beat Loyola, a team which snatched its Patriot League Championship away in 2014.

Freshman attackman/midfielder Mickey Fitzpatrick is embraced by a fellow teammate during the men's lacrosse home game on Sunday, Feb. 6, 2016. Lehigh won against NJIT by 17 points. (Hallie Fuchs/B&W Staff)

Freshman attackman/midfielder Mickey Fitzpatrick is embraced by a fellow teammate during the men’s lacrosse home game on Saturday, Feb. 6, 2016 against New Jersey Institute of Technology at the Ulrich Sports Complex. Lehigh will face Loyola University (Maryland) on Saturday. (Hallie Fuchs/B&W Staff)

“They are a talented team with some special offensive players,” freshman goalie Chris Kiernan said. “On the defensive end, we are just looking to continue to communicate well and play together.”

Having only joined the Patriot League two years ago, Loyola has won every matchup against Lehigh’s men’s lacrosse team. In 2014, their first year playing in the Patriot League, the Greyhounds beat the Mountain Hawks in the regular season 14-7.

Lehigh (6-4, 4-2 Patriot) made it to the Patriot League Championship that year, beating Navy 10-6 in the quarterfinals and winning by a marginal 12-11 score against Army West Point in the semifinals. However, Loyola took Lehigh’s dream of winning the 2014 championship away by beating the Mountain Hawks 16-7 in the title game, giving the Greyhounds their first Patriot League Championship in their first year in the league. Last year, Loyola was able to once more beat the Mountain Hawks, 11-8.

So far in league play, Lehigh has lost to Army and Navy, but has beaten Colgate University, Lafayette College, College of the Holy Cross and Boston University. So far, the Hawks are in fourth place in the Patriot League. On the other hand, the Greyhounds (7-1, 4-1 Patriot) are ranked third, only behind Army and Navy.

“We have prepared for Loyola the same way we’ve prepared for each of our 10 previous games this year,” Kevin Cassese, the Lehigh men’s lacrosse coach, said. “We have learned from our previous outings by watching film and focusing on getting ourselves better in the early week practices.”

The Mountain Hawks are coming off a solid 9-8 victory over the Boston Terriers, who are ranked No. 20 in the country. After losing two straight games before that, Lehigh will look to use the victory to transfer energy and momentum into the upcoming game this weekend.

“I think that coming off our win over Boston University, the team has regained a lot of our confidence from earlier in the season,” sophomore midfielder Matt Ernst said. “Because of this, I think that fans can look forward to seeing a hard-fought match up against the Loyola Greyhounds on Saturday.”

“Loyola is excellent in all phases of the game,” Cassese said. “We will need to put forth our very best effort of the year in order to compete for a victory. It’s a tremendous challenge for our team. I’m eager to see if we are up to that challenge.”

The game is April 9 at 2 p.m. at Goodman Stadium. After this game, the Mountain Hawks will travel to take on Princeton University on April 12 at 7 p.m. on Sherrerd Field at the Class of 1952 Stadium.

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