The Lehigh men's lacrosse team fights for the ball against the Hofstra Pride during a game on Feb. 9, 2019. Lehigh men's lacrosse defeated Loyola 10-6 on March 6, which was their first win against the Greyhounds in program history. (Isabel Standbridge/ B&W Staff)

Lehigh men’s lacrosse captures first victory over Loyola in program history

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Lehigh men’s lacrosse defeated No.10 Loyola 10-6 at Ulrich Sports Complex Saturday afternoon to capture its second straight victory and its first win against the Greyhounds in program history.

Before today’s game, Lehigh was ranked No.13 by Inside Lacrosse, No. 13 by USILA and No. 14 by US Lacrosse Magazine. After this win, it’s almost certain that the Mountain Hawks will move up in the National ranking.

Last week, faceoff star Conor Gaffney had to sit out due to COVID-19 protocols. Redshirt sophomore Mike Sisselberger, who was the No. 1 recruit in 2018, stepped up for him and went 16-22 at the stripe to help lead Lehigh to a 24-10 win against NJIT.

Since Sisselberger had himself a dominating game last week, the Mountain Hawks went with the hot faceoff man, and it paid off. Sisselberger won 16 of 19 faceoffs against Loyola and scored a goal.

Sisselbergers’s performance helped Lehigh’s offense keep possession of the ball for the majority of the game, which ultimately led to the four-point victory.

Justin Tiernan opened up the scoring for Lehigh off of a Tommy Schelling assist three minutes into play. Schelling had two goals and three assists. This season he has taken on the quarterback role after Andrew Petit gave up his remaining eligibility and chose to head to Major League Lacrosse.

Kevin Gersbeck mirrored Tiernan and scored his own goal to put the Mountain Hawks up 2-0 six minutes into play. The Greyhounds ended up getting a goal with two minutes left to cut the deficit to 2-1 at the end of the first quarter.

Loyola scored a goal to tie the game with 11:15 to play in the second quarter, but Lehigh completely took over after a Cole Kirst goal and remained on top for the rest of the game. At the half, Lehigh remained on top 5-3.

The Mountain Hawks continued to put a stamp on Loyola, with Schelling scoring a goal on Lehigh’s first possession of the third quarter. A Sisseleberger goal with 9:30 into the third quarter gave them a five-point lead, which was the biggest lead of the game. Lehigh held an 8-4 lead heading into the final frame.

The Greyhounds got a quick goal, with just under a minute and a half of action in the fourth quarter by Ryan McNulty, who was the preseason Patriot League defender of the Year. McNulty only had one caused turnover.

Senior goalkeeper James Spence had himself a day. He had a career-high-tying 17 saves and was the key to stopping Loyola’s talented offense. Anthony Tangredi led Lehigh with three caused turnovers.

Everyone knows fans can decide the outcome of the game. Due to Lehigh’s low COVID-19 cases, they allowed pre-approved spectators, which included family members. Today, they had fans in the stadium, which was the first time all year, and they were certainly an integral part in boosting Lehigh’s momentum.

You can also say that today was a little bit of revenge. In 2018, Loyola won 15-8 in the Patriot League Championship.

The Mountain Hawks will look to ride on this win when they take on Bucknell on March 14 at Ulrich Sports Complex.

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