Lehigh's defensive line pushes back against Lafayette in the 151st Rivalry Game at Goodman Stadium on Saturday, Nov. 21, 2016. Lehigh is 19-4 against Lafayette this year with a few more matchups this season. (Chris Barry/B&W Staff)

Lehigh athletics boasts consistent success against Lafayette

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webSPORTSThe rivalry Lehigh has with Lafayette College is like no other. With just under 20 miles separating these two schools, the battle to be the best continues all year long.

The clock hanging in the lobby of Taylor Gym is a constant reminder of this rivalry as it counts down to the next matchup in all sports every day of the year. While many students’ first thought when hearing about the rivalry is the football game, college football’s most played rivalry, the rivalry extends beyond that game. All 23 men’s and women’s varsity sports are filled with history and tradition that gives an extra dimension that can’t be replicated in other games.

“No matter if Lehigh or Lafayette are doing poorly in the season, the game is always completely intense, more so than the other games,” said defenseman Justin Worley, a junior on the men’s soccer team.

Worley also said in addition to the competitive nature of the game, the crowds at Lehigh-Lafayette games are his favorite part.

“The atmosphere during the game is unreal compared to any other sports matchups,” Worley said.

For his teammate and fellow junior Danny Gonzalez, this game has even more significance because his twin brother Andrew Gonzalez plays for Lafayette. The two played together growing up but parted ways at the collegiate level when they were looking for different things academically and in school size.

Having his brother on the other team has given Danny Gonzalez a favorite memory in the rivalry. After the game, the two teams tailgate and are about a football field’s length away from each other. The brothers use this time as a chance to catch up and meet in the middle with no lights and hang out for a while.

“Whoever wins that game gets bragging rights for the full year until we play again,” Gonzalez said.

Gonzalez won those rights this year after Lehigh recorded a 2-0 victory back in October. Lehigh as a whole has done well this year, boasting a 20-5 record against the Leopards. Some notable wins this year against Lafayette included a 49-35 victory for the football team in the 151st edition of The Rivalry, season sweeps for both the men’s and women’s basketball team, and an 11-6 win for the men’s lacrosse team.

Some teams have been more dominant than others, such as the men’s and women’s tennis teams. Since 1990, the men’s team has a 23-4 record and the women a 19-8 record. The 19th win for the women’s team was recorded this year with a 7-0 victory. An integral part of the win was junior Cassidy Cruz, who achieved a 6-0, 6-2 victory in singles and a 6-0 win in doubles along with Grace Lin.

“We got off on a really good foot, so it was nice to beat Lafayette pretty easily and not really have to worry about a tight match,” Cruz said.

The rivalry is also a good selling point for coaches when they are recruiting athletes. Cruz, Gonzalez and Worley all said the rivalry was talked about when they were going through the recruiting process.

“During recruiting trips everyone always talks about the rivalry between Lehigh and Lafayette.” Worley said, “I think it means a lot to everyone.”

There are still plenty of Lehigh-Lafayette matchups to look forward to this year starting with men’s tennis at Lafayette on April 18. After that the women’s lacrosse team and the baseball team will play Lafayette at home in a four-game series, and the men’s golf will meet the Leopards in Hellertown.

Update: Lehigh’s record against Lafayette was updated from 19-4 to 20-5 after Sunday’s results came in. Lehigh defeated Lafayette in women’s outdoor track 117-85 and lost to Lafayette in men’s outdoor track 101-98.

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