Lehigh Edges Rival Lafayette Behind 14 Saves from Fitzpatrick

BETHLEHEM, Pa. - Lehigh opened a 6-1 second-half lead and held off a late Lafayette charge to earn a hard-fought 9-8 victory over Lafayette on a rainy Wednesday evening at the Ulrich Sports Complex.

Senior Alexandra Fitzpatrick finished with 14 saves, eight coming in the first half, and had a big stop off a free position attempt with 2:55 remaining in regulation. With the win, Lehigh improves to 4-4 and 2-1 in the Patriot League while Lafayette falls to 3-6 and 0-3 in the league.

"I'm so, so happy for Alex. I'm proud of her," said Lehigh head coach Jill Redfern. "She works exceptionally hard at goalkeeping and leading our team in all ways. I could not be happier for her and for the team to get the win."

The game featured rain for the majority of the contest, and included an extended halftime of approximately 30 minutes due to lightning spotted in the area.

"Who knows how the game would go on a regular day," said Redfern. "I'm just happy that we managed the conditions. We managed to hang on, even though the second half went Lafayette's way. It's a W at the end of the day."

Senior Chelsea Retaleato, junior Carli Sukonik, sophomore Kendall Garden and freshman Allison LaBeau each scored two goals to lead the offense. Garden enjoyed a strong all-around game with two groundballs and three caused turnovers. Junior Kelly Scott also tallied three caused turnovers.

LaBeau opened the scoring at 25:51 of the first half while Retaleato made it 2-0 just over seven minutes later. Goals from Sukonik and Garden made it 4-0 with 14:09 on the clock.

Ana White got Lafayette on the board at 13:25, but the Mountain Hawks scored the next three bridging the end of the first and beginning of the second. A Sukonik free position shot gave the Mountain Hawks a 7-1 advantage with 22:12 remaining.

However, the Leopards answered with three straight including two in a row from Kirsten Wilhelmsen. A White goal pulled Lafayette within 7-4 at 13:31, but Lehigh answered with two of the next three. LaBeau's second of the game made it 9-5 with 10:28 on the clock.

The Leopards had one last charge in them, scoring three times in a 1:48 span to pull within 9-8 with 3:16 remaining. Lafayette continued its dominance at the draw, having a chance to tie off a free position shot, but Fitzpatrick came up with a big save to keep Lehigh in front. The Leopards had another chance, but Scott caused a turnover and scooped the groundball to help Lehigh preserve the victory.

Final shots were 29-15 in favor of Lafayette while Lehigh held a 17-15 edge in groundballs. The Leopards held a 15-4 advantage in draw controls, led by 11 from White.

Lehigh will return to action on Saturday when it heads to Loyola to face the Greyhounds. Opening draw is set for 4:00 p.m.

2014-03-19



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