Mountain Hawks Come Back for 9-7 Win over Golden Bears

BETHLEHEM, Pa. - Trailing 6-2 five minutes into the second half, Lehigh rallied to outscore visiting California 7-1 over the final 25 minutes of the game to capture a 9-7 victory Wednesday afternoon at the Ulrich Sports Complex. The Mountain Hawks improve to 5-5 with the win, while the Bears fall to 2-5.

"I'm proud of us for coming back, hanging on and knowing that we had to have a better second half in order to beat that team," said Lehigh head coach Kevin Cassese. "I thought Fitzy (Alex Fitzpatrick) did a terrific job. She always comes up big when we need it. I think Kendall (Garden) had a tremendous all-around game and Carl (Sukonik) finished really well. We just need to overcome some of those unforced turnovers."

Junior Carli Sukonik led the Lehigh offense with four goals, followed by sophomore Kendall Garden and freshman Allison LaBeau with two apiece. Garden enjoyed a strong all-around game with a career-high five caused turnovers, four groundballs and two assists.

Sukonik started the scoring with an unassisted at the 25:18 mark of the first half before Cal answered with four straight goals over the next 14 minutes. Sukonik broke the Golden Bears' streak with just over five minutes to play in the first half with a goal assisted by Garden as Lehigh went into halftime trailing 4-2.

Cal's Paige Gasparino scored on a free position shot before Bella Huther added another goal just 16 seconds later as the clock read 26:02 with the Golden Bears leading 6-2. Senior Chelsea Retaleato converted a pass from Garden five minutes later. It sparked a 3-0 run for the Mountain Hawks that saw goals from Garden and LaBeau as Lehigh pulled within one at 6-5 with 16:54 to play.

Three minutes later, Cal put another on the board to extend its lead to 7-5, but LaBeau responded 45 seconds later with a goal off a free position shot. Two more free position shots were converted into Lehigh goals, from Sukonik and Garden, as Lehigh was able to take an 8-7 lead with 6:58 on the clock. Sukonik added an insurance goal on a pass from freshman Lauren Beausoleil at the 4:36 mark before the Mountain Hawk defense shut down Cal to claim the 9-7 win.

"Honestly, going against the wind in the first half was a battle," said Redfern. "I think that hurt us and it was a little easier in the second half. We got some of the momentum. Between the wind and the momentum, it all started going our way."

Final shots were tied 12-12 with Lehigh holding a 12-8 second-half advantage. Groundballs were also knotted at 19, but Lehigh senior goalie Alexandra Fitzpatrick made ten saves compared to Cal's Helen Hansen who made seven.

Lehigh returns to action at Yale Sunday for its final nonleague game of the season. Opening draw is set for 1:00 p.m.

"We think the nonleague games are really important," said Redfern. "It shows how your team is coming along and where you are at this point of the season because heading into April, you need to be at your best."


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