Mountain Hawks Look to Continue Lacrosse Success in 2013

Lehigh made history in 2012. The Mountain Hawks won their first ever Patriot League Tournament Title and advanced to their first NCAA Tournament. Lehigh earned the #7 seed, falling in the final seconds against eventual National Finalist Maryland.

The Mountain Hawks finished 14-3, but this year (the 125th season of Lehigh Lacrosse), their goals are higher. The team begins the new season with an impressive core of returning players who look to take the next step in 2013 by winning a second straight Patriot League Championship and making it back to the NCAA Tournament, where it hopes to advance to Championship Weekend and compete for a National Title right down the road in Philadelphia.

Lehigh has earned tremendous respect nationally, ranked #8 in Inside Lacrosse's Face-Off Yearbook. The Mountain Hawks came in as high as fourth last year (in the week following the regular season) and ranked ninth in the final Nike/Inside Lacrosse Media Poll.

"One of the biggest things that's changed in a year is we're no longer the underdog," said Lehigh head coach and reigning Patriot League Coach of the Year Kevin Cassese. "We will certainly have a target on our back all year long, and we look forward to the new challenge. Our goals will always begin with Patriot League success. Last year, we were able to accomplish a long-standing goal of winning a Patriot League Tournament Championship.

"This year it's a major goal of ours to repeat as Patriot League Champions," Cassese continued. "It's something that hasn't been done in several years (last was Navy from 2004-07). Beyond that, we have our sights set on returning to the NCAA Tournament, reaching the Final Four in nearby Philadelphia, and making every effort to win the program's first National Championship in the NCAA Tournament era."

Lehigh returns a strong core this season, led by a prolific duo at attack in seniors David DiMaria and Dante Fantoni, along with its core at defense, and an All-American goalie. The biggest question will be replacing the Lao-Gosney twins at midfield, but Lehigh has strong pieces in place who look to step up.

Attack

DiMaria and Fantoni anchor a strong unit at attack, ranked as the nation's 10th best unit in Inside Lacrosse's Face-Off Yearbook. The duo has combined for 262 career points - 132 from DiMaria (55 goals, 77 assists) and 130 from Fantoni (82, 48). They complement each other extremely well, with Fantoni as more of the finisher and DiMaria the feeder, but both have developed tremendous all-around games.

After posting 33 points as a freshman, DiMaria led the team with 52 points as a sophomore then 47 last year as a junior. His goal total has increased each year as well, from nine to 22 to a team-leading 24 a season ago. Meanwhile, Fantoni has been consistent in his tenure, with 40 points as a freshman followed by 47 and 43, respectively. He recorded 11 straight multi-point games to end 2012, including a goal and assist in the NCAA Tournament. Both are Inside Lacrosse preseason All-Americans (DiMaria third team and Fantoni honorable mention).

The third attackman will likely be sophomore Dan Taylor, who had 17 points (11 goals, six assists) in his rookie campaign. Three of them came on the extra man, including one in the Patriot League Championship Game to get the scoring started. The lefty from Canada scored a pair of goals in three straight games towards the beginning of last season, including three points (two goals, one assist) in a dominant win at Penn.

Classmate and fellow Canadian Patrick Corbett could also see time at attack, but may run in the midfield as well. A midfielder in high school, Corbett played attack last season and impressed, finishing fifth on the team with 23 points (18 goals, five assists) and third with five man-up goals. One highlight came at Navy when he had three goals and an assist to earn National Rookie of the Week honors, just a game after posting four points (two goals, two assists) in a win over Holy Cross.

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2013-02-05



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