Throughout the 2023 season, Lehigh women’s lacrosse has competed against some of the strongest teams in the nation.
Lehigh has faced four teams ranked in the Inside Lacrosse top 25 poll. The last time Lehigh faced four nationally-ranked opponents in one season was in 2018.
Lehigh has lost each of their four games against the nationally ranked opponents by an average margin of 7.5 goals. In the four losses, the Mountain Hawks have been outscored by 30 goals.
Senior attacker Gabby Schneider, who has scored nine goals in the four games against ranked opponents, said she has gained confidence for future games from playing highly ranked teams.
“It’s very beneficial to play the best teams,” Schneider said. “I just think it helps build our character and our confidence.”
Lehigh is nearly undefeated against all other teams they have faced, with a 9-5 record. They have not lost to an unranked opponent since the season opener against Delaware on Feb. 10, where they lost 13-11. Since this defeat, they have outscored unranked opponents by an average margin of victory of over six goals.
Senior attacker Katia Carnevale said the team needs to play consistently throughout all four quarters of a game to compete with tough opponents.
“Something we’ve been harping on is really having a full game, not just playing one good half, or just playing really well on the defensive end and not so great on the offensive end,” Carnevale said. “We’re really focused on putting all of our pieces together.”
Schneider said the coaches are constantly emphasizing to the players how playing a complete game will often increase their chances of winning.
Lehigh almost defeated nationally ranked conference rival Army, who is ranked 16th in the country.
After the first quarter of the game, Lehigh led 7-1. Carnevale scored five consecutive goals in the quarter, making the game against Army her highest scoring game of the year. She leads the team in goals this season with 40.
Army responded with five consecutive goals of their own in the second quarter, cutting Lehigh’s lead to 7-6 at halftime. From there, the game remained close until Army scored a goal with just under four minutes remaining to secure the win.
Carnevale thought this game fueled the team with more optimism than their earlier losses to nationally ranked opponents.
“We played a really, really close game against Army and that was one of the best games of the season so far,” Carnevale said. “Those types of games are super important for us because it shows us what we’re capable of.”
Ever since the tight loss against Army, Lehigh has won each of their next three Patriot League games against American University, Boston University and Holy Cross. Their 5-3 conference record places them in fourth, securing themselves a home game in the first round of the playoffs.
Junior attacker Olivia Memeger said she thinks the team is better off playing a more difficult schedule.
“We have struggled against the ranked teams, but it’s been a really great opportunity to assess where we are as a team,” Memeger said. “We’re just excited to have the opportunity to play these good teams so we can get ready for the rest of the season.”
Two of the ranked teams Lehigh has faced, Army and Loyola, are potential opponents for Lehigh in the Patriot League tournament.
Based on the results of the last three games, the Mountain Hawks have put themselves in a position to win.
“We’ve gotten into a stretch where we’ve had some really consistent games,” Memeger said. “We’re feeling good moving forward.”
Lehigh women’s lacrosse is back in action on April 27, where they conclude the regular season at home against Colgate.