Mountain Hawks Pick up Victory at Villanova

VILLANOVA, Pa. - Five Mountain Hawks scored multiple goals to lead a strong all-around effort as Lehigh (6-5, 2-1 Patriot League) rolled past Villanova, 12-8, on Tuesday evening. Freshman Carli Sukonik (three goals, two assists) and junior Julie McBrien (two goals, three assists) both posted a game-high five points, while junior MaryLeah DiNisco posted eight saves between the pipes.

"Anytime you beat a Big East team, it's exciting," said Lehigh head coach Jill Redfern. "It was a good team win."

Lehigh outscored the Wildcats, 6-4 in each half to account for the 12-8 final. Along with Sukonik and McBrien, senior Leigh Ann Torcivia posted four points (two goals, two assists), senior Lauren Murray had three (two goals, one assist) and sophomore Chelsea Retaleato finished with two (two goals). Freshman Kelsey Yenco added a goal as well.

"We're starting to share the ball more and capitalize on whoever's open," said Redfern. "Everyone is just doing their job on attack and finishing in front of the net."

Torcivia and Murray opened the scoring, giving Lehigh a 2-0 lead less than two minutes into the contest. The Wildcats responded with two straight, but Retaleato scored her first at 18:04 before McBrien got on the scoreboard at 15:10. Villanova pulled within 4-3, before using another two-goal surge early in the second to pull within 7-6 after the Mountain Hawks opened a 7-4 lead.

After Ali Judge pulled the Wildcats within a goal, Lehigh erased any doubt with four consecutive goals - by Retaleato, then two straight from Sukonik and another from McBrien - to make it 11-6 with 13:19 remaining. Villanova did score two straight to make it 11-8 with 5:13 remaining, but the Mountain Hawks' defense clamped down and Yenco scored at 3:33 to account for the 12-8 final.

"I thought we played more aggressive defense in the second half," said Redfern. "We got some good turnovers and stops when we needed it. We want to keep being aggressive back there and playing team D."

In total, eight of Lehigh's 12 goals were assisted, led by McBrien's three helpers.

Lehigh led the final shot count, 24-22, while Villanova held a 13-12 edge in groundballs. The Mountain Hawks were 12 of 14 in clears to the Wildcats' 9 of 10.

"This game came at a time when it was easy to have a letdown," said Redfern. "We managed well on the road. We need to pick it up even more against a very strong American team [Saturday]."

The Mountain Hawks will return to action Saturday for a big Patriot League showdown at American. Opening draw is set for 1:00 p.m.


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