Saturday Night Showdown
April 17, 2009
EASTON, Pa. - The stage needs no introduction. The 2009 regular season-finale...against your archrival...with a berth into the four-team Patriot League Tournament for the first time in school history on the line. That's the scene for the Lafayette men's lacrosse team on Saturday night when the squad heads to Bethlehem, Pa. to take on Lehigh at 7 p.m.
If Lafayette defeats the Mountain Hawks by two or more goals, the Leopards will clinch a berth in next weekend's four-team Patriot League tournament for the first time in school history. Should Lafayette beat Lehigh by one goal, Army would take the fourth and final seed into the tournament due to goal differential between the remainder of Patriot League opponents. Lehigh qualifies with a win.
Leading the Leopard offense will be sophomore attack Tom Perini, whose 3.09 goals per game lists him second in the country and leads the Patriot League. Junior Matt Mersky will also figure prominently into the Lafayette attack, who is second on the team in goals (17) and assists (12). Cesar Munoz has asserted himself into the face-off role, as his .579 win percentage inside the circle ranks eighth in the country.
The Lafayette defense has been led all season by the stellar play of senior goalkeeper Jeff Canfield. Canfield, a 2008 selection to the All-Patriot League Second Team, has started all 12 games between the pipes for the Leopards and amassed 122 saves on the season. The defense will also depend on the experience of senior defenders Alex Heller and Matt Mozer, who have both racked up 10 caused turnovers apiece thus far in 2009.
Lehigh's offense is led by Ricky Cornetta, who easily paces the Mountain Hawks with 52 points (28 goals and 24 assists) on the season. Brian Bienemann is second on the team with 19 goals, while Max Dahlem ranks behind Cornetta in assists with eight.
In goal, Morgan Haller has started eight of Lehigh's 11 games, totaling 70 saves. Teammate Conor Murphy got the nod in the Mountain Hawks' other six contests, racking up 56 saves with a 13.68 goals against average.
Colgate, Bucknell and Navy have all clinched spots in the Patriot League tournament. Navy is locked into the three seed, while Bucknell and Colgate will battle this weekend for the right to hold the top spot and host the tournament.
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