Lehigh men’s lacrosse defeated rival Colgate 13-9 in the Patriot League Tournament semifinal matchup at Ulrich Sports Complex Friday afternoon.
Following a disappointing performance in their loss at Villanova last week, sophomore midfielder John Sidorski led the Mountain Hawks with six points, including three goals and three assists.
“I thought John Sidorski was excellent tonight, and we needed him to be,” said head coach Kevin Cassese. “I think for him, he had a big chip on his shoulder. He played really poorly against Villanova last week. He’s been someone who’s been a strong catalyst for our offense throughout the year. I think he took that to heart.”
Junior Faceoff specialist Mike Sisselberger had somewhat of an off-day – winning only 18 of his 25 duels at the stripe – but Teddy Leggett and the Lehigh defense held strong, fending off Colgate’s abundance of time on attack.
After a slow start to the first quarter and several failed Lehigh clears, Colgate’s Jacob Sposita opened up the scoring, his first of two, ten minutes into the game. Sidorski quickly answered for Lehigh, and back-and-forth they went until the first quarter ended with the mountain hawks up 3-2.
Again, Colgate started the scoring in the second quarter, netting two goals less than one minute apart. But an illegal body check gave the mountain hawks a man-up opportunity and a chance to grab the momentum.
Freshman Quinn Armstrong finished a pretty pass from Cole Kirst to put Lehigh up 5-4. Thirty seconds later, Kirst netted another – his 25th of the season – to give the Mountain Hawks a two-goal advantage.
Following a media timeout, sophomore standout Christian Mulé put away his second of the day and 30th of the season on a crisp pass from Sidorski. The Red Raiders came storming back, scoring three straight goals to tie the game with just under three minutes to play in the first half.
Sidorski was able to find Tommy Schelling for one more, giving Lehigh the edge heading into the break.
The Mountain Hawks came out of the locker room on a mission. Justin Tiernan netted back-to-back goals before fifth-year senior Crew Cintron added his name to the scoresheet, increasing Lehigh’s lead to four. Colgate faceoff specialist Thomas Colucci attempted to take matters into his own hands, winning a faceoff and barreling down the field for a score but Lehigh’s three-goal advantage had them comfortably in front with just the final frame left.
Lehigh’s relatively sloppy play, riddled with failed clears and turnovers, persisted into the fourth quarter.
“The first thing I’m going to do is fire the clearing coach,” Cassese said. That happens to be me. We were terrible in the clearing game today.”
It was too little too late for the Red Raiders. Mulé added his third, and then the teams traded goals bringing the final score to 13-9.
Lehigh defenseman Teddy Leggett and midfielder Christian McHugh secured key ground balls and blocked shots all afternoon for the brown and white.
“It was a really gritty win… I thought our defense did a really nice job,” Cassese said.
The Mountain Hawks will look to capture the Patriot League title at Ulrich Sports Complex Sunday at noon against the Loyola Greyhounds.