Lehigh Tops UC Davis for Best Start in School History

BETHLEHEM, Pa. Lehigh jumped out to a 7-1 lead on UC Davis on Tuesday afternoon at the Ulrich Sports Complex and eventually held on for an 11-9 victory over the Aggies. With the win Lehigh matches the best start in school history at 8-0, while visiting UC Davis falls to 6-2. Sophomore Kelly Draper and junior Lauren Dykstra scored three goals apiece to lead the Mountain Hawks offense, while Molly Lapolla found the back of the net four times for the Aggies.

Junior Allison Thomas led Lehigh with eight shots, while Dykstra was credited with six. The Mountain Hawks scooped up 26 ground balls on the afternoon with Thomas totaling seven. Thomas also led Lehigh in draw controls with four, while Dykstra, Leigh Ann Torcivia and Kindall Healy caused a team-high two turnovers each. Healy also handed out a pair of assists and freshman ML DiNisco stopped nine shots in goal.

For the Aggies, Lapolla was the leader in shots with six, while Laura Sunday and Stephanie Guercio were the leaders in ground balls with five each. Alyse Lasater won two draw controls for UC Davis and Sunday caused a game-high three turnovers. In goal for the visitors, Alyssa Cranska stopped 11 shots in 60 minutes of action.

"I don't think today was our best effort," Lehigh head coach Jill Redfern said afterwards. "You have to credit UC Davis; they fought hard, they played an aggressive game and they made the most of their opportunities out there." She continued, "I'm happy we won, but it was certainly not our best performance."

Gina Hoffmire gave UC Davis an early lead with a goal at the 27:34 mark of the opening half, but from there Lehigh scored seven straight times to surge in front. Dykstra scored three of the goals with Draper adding two and Healy and Thomas both scoring once. Draper scored the final goal of the run with 15:30 left before halftime on a free position shot as the Mountain Hawks opened up a 7-1 advantage.

UC Davis refused to go away quietly though as Lapolla netted a pair of scores and Elizabeth Datino found the back of the net with no time remaining to send the teams into halftime with Lehigh's lead trimmed to three at 7-4.

Lapolla then began the second half with her 17th goal of the season to make it a two-goal affair, and following Britt Farquharson's score with 28:28 on the clock Lehigh was ahead by just one, 7-6. Thomas stopped the Aggies run with a goal at the 27:42 mark only to see Vannessa Jamison score her first goal of the season two minutes later. That again made it a one-goal game, but Draper and Meg Kelly scored back-to-back goals for the Mountain Hawks to make the score 10-7 with 13:46 to play.

Molly Peterson scored for UC Davis with 10:07 to play to make it a 10-8 game, but Lauren Murray got into the act for the Mountain Hawks as she found the back of the net with 9:30 to go. Lapolla scored what proved to be the game's final goal with 6:15 to play, but Lehigh did a terrific job of possessing the ball down the stretch to hold on for its eighth consecutive victory.

Lehigh will return to action on Saturday afternoon when the Mountain Hawks step back into Patriot League play with a trip to Washington, D.C. to take on the American Eagles. The opening draw control is set for 2:00.

"I thought our focus was weak today," Redfern commented. "We also did not protect our sticks very well. So looking ahead to Saturday, we need to work on sharpening those things as well as playing much better defense."

* * * *

BETHLEHEM, Pa. -- Despite four goals from senior Molly Lapolla and a string of five Aggie unanswered scores, UC Davis was unable to overcome Lehigh's fast start, falling in an 11-9 non-conference women's collegiate lacrosse game at the Ulrich Sports Complex Tuesday afternoon.

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2010-03-23



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