#9 Lehigh Tops #11 Colgate for First Patriot Tournament Title

The Mountain Hawks (14-2) jumped out to a 5-0 lead then held off a Raiders' (12-3) charge to earn the league's automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament. Junior Dante Fantoni earned Tournament MVP honors after posting nine points over the two games (five goals, four assists).

"It's an incredible feeling," said Lehigh head coach Kevin Cassese. "I am so incredibly happy for our seniors, for our captains, for our upperclassmen and for the entire Lehigh Lacrosse family. It's been a work in progress and a long time coming. We've been thinking and dreaming about this day for a long time.

"We wake up this morning and here it is right in front of us," Cassese continued. "All we have to do is go out and play a full four quarters to win a championship. I'm so proud of our guys; they showed up, were resilient and got the job done."

Fantoni scored three goals and added two assists, including Lehigh's 15th goal which proved to be the difference. The victory gave the Mountain Hawks their first league tournament title (Lehigh won the Patriot League in 1999 before there was a tournament) and first-ever bid to the NCAA Tournament. The team will find out its fate at the Selection Show next Sunday evening.

Three different Mountain Hawks posted hat tricks in the highest scoring game in Patriot League Tournament history. Junior David DiMaria added a team-high five points (three goals, two assists) while classmate Brian Hess scored three goals for his first-career hat trick.

Senior Roman Lao-Gosney and freshman Dan Taylor added two goals as well, with Taylor netting two of the game's first three.

"It's unbelievable," said Fantoni. "It shows all our hard work paid off. From day one, this was our mission. Throughout the season, we knew we could do it."

The defense contained a potent Raiders' offense in the first quarter, shutting them out for the game's first 17:30 before Colgate exploded from that point forward. The nation's leading scorer Peter Baum led the way with his second straight nine-point game (three goals, six assists), setting a tournament record for points on Friday before tying it again today. But in the end, Lehigh continued to have an answer. Colgate pulled as close as 6-5 late in the second quarter, but wouldn't get any closer than two again (13-11 then 16-14 at the final horn).

Sophomore defenseman Lukas Mikelinich posted a career-high five groundballs along with a caused turnover while Ty Souders had a groundball, two caused turnovers and his first-career goal. Junior Mike Noone also posted three groundballs and two caused turnovers after two groundballs and three caused turnovers in Friday's Semifinal win vs. Army. That earned Noone a spot on the All-Tournament team, along with DiMaria and junior Ryan Snyder. Fantoni was named Tournament MVP.

With the win, Lehigh also became the first school in Patriot League history to win the football championship along with the men's basketball and men's lacrosse tournament titles in the same academic year.

A game of runs saw the Mountain Hawks score the game's first five goals before Colgate mounted a charge. Taylor got it started with a blast into the top corner of the cage, making it 1-0 at the 12:43 mark. After almost eight minutes of scoreless action, senior Blaise Fullen capitalized on a transition opportunity, taking a feed from freshman Alan Henderson and beating Colgate goalie Jared Madison at the 4:44 mark.

The Mountain Hawks scored three more, from Taylor, Fantoni and DiMaria to make it 5-0 just 59 seconds into the second quarter.

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2012-04-29



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