The Lehigh women’s lacrosse team snapped its five game Patriot League losing streak on Saturday, April 13, defeating Holy Cross 12-8.
On a day honoring its seniors, Lehigh’s performance reflected the success the team saw before this season’s struggles.
The Mountain Hawks strung two solid halves together, a feat that has been a point of emphasis for the team and coach Jill Redfern.
“We’ve really not been strong in the second half, so I think our awareness of that coupled with coach Sammy (Cermak’s) really strong offensive preparation on that end was able to solve their defense and really put up some nice numbers,” Redfern said.
After falling behind early 2-0, Lehigh quickly rebounded after a goal by sophomore attacker Julianne Puckette and two by junior midfielder Sondra Dickey to take a 3-2 lead with just under eight minutes to go in the first half.
Dickey said the Mountain Hawks entered the game with the mentality that losing wasn’t an option.
“I think it was kind of just a do or die mentality,” Dickey said. “Especially for our seniors, to win for them was super important just to keep our playoff hopes alive.”
After trading goals, Lehigh secured a 5-4 lead as it went to the locker room at halftime, which marked the team’s second halftime lead in Patriot League play this season.
Two early second half goals by senior attacker Kellie Gough stretched the team’s lead to 7-4, and from there, Lehigh never looked back.
Gough was particularly vocal about changing the trend in regard to Lehigh’s tendency to fall apart late in games.
“That was something that I think we tried to make blatantly obvious in the locker room,” Gough said. “If you look at our stat sheets, our second halves have been awful. We have not come out the same way we did in the first so we just can’t do that again and we need to go into every half with the same attention span.”
After a goal by Holy Cross, Lehigh opened the floodgates for a much-needed win, scoring four unanswered goals to give the side an 11-5 advantage and effectively ending Holy Cross’s chances of coming back.
Dickey led the way with four goals and an assist, with Gough also capturing three goals and two assists.
In a Patriot League season marred by inconsistent play, second half collapses and lack of offense, the team was excited to see its efforts finally come to fruition against Holy Cross. The atmosphere was particularly eccentric due to the team’s senior day celebration.
“It was the best gift I could ask for,” Gough said. “I don’t need a framed jersey or a celebration, I just needed the W and that’s what we got and I know all of our underclassmen were working really hard for our seniors and that means the world.”
With its first Patriot League win out of the way, the team will look to build off its momentum as it faces rival Lafayette College, Bucknell University and American University to close the year out.
“We’re excited to get some momentum going into our Lafayette game on Wednesday,” Redfern said. “We’ve been on a pretty bad skid so I think it took a lot of determination from our whole roster to get this today so I’m excited for our team.”
Dickey added to Redfern’s sentiment, adding that the team’s victory against Holy Cross was a critical morale booster as it heads into the final stretch of Patriot league play.
Lehigh will face off against Lafayette in Easton, Pennsylvania, on Wednesday, April 17, at 7 p.m.