Lehigh Downs New Hampshire in Non-Conference Action

BETHLEHEM, Pa. - Despite falling into an early 2-0 deficit, and standing tied with 15:26 remaining in regulation, Lehigh used a 5-0 run to take an 11-6 lead and erase any doubt in an 11-8 win over New Hampshire Saturday.

The win marks the Mountain Hawks' fifth in their last seven games to improve to 7-6 on the season. Senior Leigh Ann Torcivia led the way with five points via a goal and four assists while junior MaryLeah DiNisco impressed with 11 saves between the pipes.

“I thought we got ourselves collected and we attacked the goal cage hard,” said Lehigh head coach Jill Redfern. “We had some nice streaks of holding them defensively, which really helped.”

Lehigh held the Wildcats scoreless for one stretch of 28:41 from midway through the first half to midway through the second, then for 12:55 during its 5-0 run to pull away. This came against a New Hampshire team which defeated #12 nationally-ranked Vanderbilt just 11 days ago.

“We played nice help defense,” said Redfern. “We hedged well, we held our own girl well and our communication was solid. We got some good goalkeeping as well.”

Torcivia's five points led the way while freshman Carli Sukonik scored three goals for her sixth-career hat trick and third in a row. She now has 13 goals over the past three games. Juniors Megan Kelly and Julie McBrien each added three points apiece via two goals and an assist.

“Leigh Ann's a key to our offense,” said Redfern. “She keeps her head up and knows who to look for and where. Everyone gelled pretty well and solved their defense. We had plenty of opportunities.”

DiNisco posted a season-high 11 saves, only allowing six goals on 10 second-half shots. The Mountain Hawks forced 11 of UNH's 14 turnovers, led by two each from Torcivia and junior Kenzie Dambach.

“ML is feeling better and our defense is playing better together as a unit,” said Redfern. “They're definitely having more success.”

Down 2-0 less than four minutes into the game, Sukonik and Kelly responded at 22:14 and 19:41 to pull even. The sides went back and forth for the rest of the half, which ended with a goal from junior Alissa Hardiman with 14:22 to play, capping off three goals in a 59-second span. But neither team could score the rest of the half, making it 4-4 after 30 minutes.

McBrien and freshman Kelsey Yenco scored to give Lehigh a 6-4 lead early in the second, but the Wildcats answered with two in a row as Kate Keagins' goal made it 6-6 with 15:26 remaining. However, the Mountain Hawks went on to score five straight - from five different goal scorers - to take an 11-6 lead with 4:30 on the clock. New Hampshire's Laura Puccia responded with her second and third of the game in a 55-second span, but it wasn't nearly enough.

Final shots stood tied at 23 while New Hampshire held a 20-15 edge in groundballs. Lehigh dominated draw controls, 14-7, led by four from Torcivia, while five others had two apiece. DiNisco finished with 11 saves while a duo of Taylor Hurwitz and Kate Gunts made 10 for the Wildcats.

Lehigh will host #12 Penn State on Wednesday night before wrapping up the regular season vs. Holy Cross and Navy in each of the next two Saturdays.

“We can't wait to play Penn State,” said Redfern. “A night game here against a top team is something that our program loves and our girls get excited for.”

* * * *

LEHIGH, Pa. – Ilana Cohen (Andover, Mass.) recorded a goal and three assists and Laura Puccia (Fairport, N.Y.) scored three goals, but New Hampshire was defeated 11-8 by Lehigh in Saturday afternoon's non-conference action at Ulrich Sports Complex.

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