Mountain Hawks Drop Season Finale to Navy

BETHLEHEM, Pa. - Navy jumped out to an early lead and wouldn't look back in downing Lehigh, 14-4 on Saturday. The Mountain Hawks (7-9, 2-3 Patriot League) were led by Carli Sukonik who rounded out her freshman season with her seventh-career hat trick. It was also Senior Day, as Lauren Murray, Anna Pierce and Leigh Ann Torcivia were all honored prior to their finals games in the Brown and White.

Navy (15-2, 6-0) scored the game's first eight goals and the first 13 of 14, but the Mountain Hawks wouldn't quit. A resilient Lehigh squad tallied three of the final four goals to pull within 14-4 at the final horn.

"I'm proud of our effort today," said Lehigh head coach Jill Redfern. "We stayed tough throughout the game. We didn't give up on groundballs or things that are easy to give up on when the game's been decided. A number of very young players got fabulous experience in this game."

Torcivia scored Lehigh's other goal off a free position chance while junior Anna Patterson added an assist on the Mountain Hawks' first tally. Junior MaryLeah DiNisco was strong between the pipes, making 12 stops including eight in the first half.

"I'm proud of ML," said Redfern. "She stopped some point blank shots, stayed focused and kept our defense together back when we were on defense for so many minutes. It's an attribute to her character and her competitiveness to say focused that entire game and do well."

The Midshipmen scored four quick goals to take a 4-0 lead less than nine minutes into the game. The lead rose to 8-0, but Sukonik took a nifty feed from Patterson before beating Navy goalie Michelle Verbeeck with 32 seconds remaining in the first half.

Navy scored the first four of the second half, but Sukonik scored two more, with a Torcivia goal in between, to account for the 14-4 final.

"We hate to send seniors out on a loss, but they're three very strong individuals with very good character," said Redfern. "We're proud of them. They have been instrumental in building this program and we certainly hope they will stay involved. We're very proud of those three."

Navy held a 38-11 edge in shots, 12-5 in groundballs and 14-7 in draw controls. DiNisco posted 12 saves while Verbeeck made three saves before being relieved by Elaina Ponchione who made two.

* * * *

BETHLEHEM, Pa. - The 2012 Patriot League Regular Season champion Navy women's lacrosse team (15-2, 6-0 PL) opened the game on an 8-0 run on its way to beating Lehigh (7-9, 2-4 PL), 14-4, at Ulrich Sports Complex on Saturday afternoon. With the win, Navy concludes Patriot League play with a perfect 6-0 record, becoming the first team to go undefeated in conference play since Holy Cross in 2007.

"It's a huge step for the program," head coach Cindy Timchal said of the undefeated conference season and No. 1 seed. "We wanted to bring the tournament to Annapolis and we are proud of that. However, we still have more work to do and there are more things to be accomplished this season."

Navy has won 15 of its last 16 games and at 15-2, the two-time defending league tournament champions are off to their best start in program history.

The Mids scored the game's first eight goals and held a 9-1 advantage at halftime. The Mids led in shots (38-11), ground balls (12-5) and draw controls (14-7) and were a perfect 13 of 13 on clear attempts.

"We wanted to come out strong today and show that we can be a tough team on the road," Timchal said. "We executed well on the offensive end today, we played tough defensively and draw controls were critical, especially early."

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