Comeback Falls Short for Lehigh vs. Holy Cross

BETHLEHEM, Pa. - Trailing 6-2 at the half, Lehigh scored five of the first seven second-half goals to pull within one, but couldn't get any closer as Holy Cross tacked on the final two to win, 10-7 on Saturday. The Mountain Hawks (7-8, 2-3 Patriot League) gave up five goals in the first 15:39, but the defense was stingy from that point forward, allowing only one over the next 25:45, which allowed the offense to make a run.

"We didn't come out strong and didn't finish when we needed to," said Lehigh head coach Jill Redfern. "We struggled to get the draw. Holy Cross (7-7, 3-2 PL) did well; they put their shots away and dominated through that stretch. Frankly, it was a game we didn't deserve to win."

Junior Julie McBrien and freshman Carli Sukonik each scored a pair of goals while the Mountain Hawks got single goals from senior Lauren Murray, junior Megan Kelly and freshman Kelsey Yenco. Kelly also added a game-high five groundballs and two caused turnovers.

"We dropped a lot of balls and had miscues," said Redfern. "Some of it is inexperience and some of it is just execution problems. Holy Cross put pressure on us and we didn't solve the goalkeeper early enough or often enough."

The loss means Lehigh will need to win its regular season finale vs. Navy next Saturday and get help in order to qualify for its sixth straight Patriot League Tournament.

Yenco got the scoring started at 26:42 of the first half, ending a long Lehigh possession with a free position goal. Holy Cross came back with a vengeance, posting five straight over the next 12:21, which included two goals from Laura Ryan.

Sukonik ended a 14:14 scoreless drought at the 12:28 mark, but the Crusaders scored a big goal with just 17 seconds left in the first to make it 6-2 after one half of play.

McBrien set the tone with a goal just 35 seconds into the second, while Kelly made it two straight at the 22:37 mark. She scooped up a rebound and promptly beat Sarah Weber, who made six of her 10 saves in the second half.

The teams traded goals, but after a Sara Hennessey score made it 8-5, the Mountain Hawks responded with goals from McBrien and Murray within a 24-second span to make it 8-7 with 7:53 remaining. However, Lehigh couldn't pull any closer despite numerous chances. The Crusaders' Taylor Zebrowski added two goals in the final minute for the 10-7 final.

Final shots were tied at 30 while Lehigh held a 20-11 edge in groundballs and 12-7 edge in draw controls. The Crusaders were 2 of 5 on free position shots to the Mountain Hawks' 3 of 8. Both goalies impressed as junior MaryLeah DiNisco made eight stops across Weber, who posted 10.

Lehigh will close out the regular season next Saturday when it hosts Navy for Senior Day. Opening draw is set for 1:00 p.m.

* * * *

BETHLEHEM, Pa. Junior Taylor Zebrowski (Verona, N.J.) posted three goals and one assist for four points, while sophomore goalie Sarah Weber (Summit, N.J.) tallied 10 saves as Holy Cross defeated Lehigh, 10-7, in Patriot League action on Saturday afternoon at the Ulrich Sports Complex.

With the win, the Crusaders have won six of their last nine games including two straight league contests and improve to 7-7 overall (3-2 PL), while the Mountain Hawks fall to 7-8 overall (2-3 PL). The Crusaders' seven overall wins are their most in a season since going 13-6 in 2007.

The Crusaders are now tied for second place in the Patriot League standings with Colgate (3-2 PL) with each team having one game to play, while fourth-place American (3-3 PL) has concluded league competition. Lehigh and Lafayette (2-3 PL) are tied for fifth.

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