Leopards Finish Season at Lehigh
April 19, 2013
The Lafayette men’s lacrosse team plays its final game of the season on Saturday afternoon when it travels to Bethlehem, Pa. to take on archrival No. 16/14 Lehigh at 7 p.m. The Leopards enter the game 3-9 overall and are looking for their first Patriot League win.
The Mountain Hawks enter Saturday afternoon’s game at 9-4 overall and 5-0 in the Patriot League, aiming for their first undefeated conference season in their history. The Mountain Hawks have already clinched the Patriot League regular season title and will host the Patriot League Tournament on April 26-28. David DiMaria paces the Mountain Hawks attack with team-highs in goals (23), assists (28) and points (51). Dan Taylor is second on the team with 22 goals and has chipped in with 16 assists for 38 points. Mike Noone leads the defense with a team-high 19 caused turnovers, while scooping up 24 ground balls. Ryan Snyder has picked up a team-high 70 ground balls. Matt Poillon sees a majority of the time between the pipes, making ten starts. Poillon holds a 7.76 goals against average and an 8-2 record. Griffin Farha has started two games for the Mountain Hawks, posting a 1-1 record with a 5.82 goals against average.
The Leopards are coached by first-year man Jim Rogalski, who spent the previous two seasons as the head coach at the University of Scranton. At Scranton, Rogalski put together back-to-back winning seasons with a record of 18-15 and he currently holds a 21-24 overall mark. The Mountain Hawks are coached by Kevin Cassese, who is in his sixth season. Cassese led Lehigh to the Patriot League title and a berth in the NCAA tournament last season. He holds an overall record of 48-43, all in Bethlehem.
The Leopards are 22-60-1 all-time against the Mountain Hawks in a rivalry dating back to 1926. Lafayette is looking for its first win over Lehigh since 2009.
Sophomore Sonny Round leads the Lafayette attack with 26 goals, while classmate Brian Bock is second on the team with 22 tallies. Bock also leads the team and sits eighth in the Patriot League with 1.17 assists per game and 14 on the year. Round’s 39 points (3.25 ppg) are seventh in the League. Freshman Kevin Wanke sits third on the team in goals (21) and points (26) for a young and growing attack unit.
Picking It Up
Senior co-captain Anthony Zawadzki ranks first in the Patriot League in faceoff percentage (61.3%). Classmate Greg Rau leads the Leopards in ground balls with 45, while winning 48.0 percent of his faceoff attempts, good enough for seventh in the League. Junior defender Matt Evans is second on the team in ground balls with 42, followed by junior defender Mac Ashler with 30. Senior defender Geoff Stearns leads the Leopards in caused turnovers with 19, while picking up 26 ground balls.
Between the Pipes
Junior goalkeeper Jake Hyatt, a Ridgefield, Conn. native, has been stellar all year for the Leopards, making 16 saves in three different contests (at Georgetown, at Wagner, vs. Marist) and at least ten saves in 12 straight games dating back to last season. The junior is fifth in the nation and leads the Patriot League in saves per game (13.73). Freshman Ben Falcone stepped in for Hyatt in the loss to Army, making 10 saves in 47 shots faced.
The Patriot League has proven a gauntlet for teams this season as the League featured three teams in the preseason top-20 rankings. Since, Colgate has fallen out of the ranks, but No. 16/14 Lehigh and No. 15/16 Bucknell remain. Additionally, the Leopards faced three teams in Lehigh (Sat., 7 p.m.), Stony Brook (L, 12-10) and Colgate (L, 14-10) that made appearances in the NCAA Tournament last season.
Around the Patriot League
Lehigh has clinched the overall top seed and will host the Patriot League Tournament on April 26-28. Colgate and Bucknell have solidified spots in the field, while Army and Holy Cross will play for the fourth and final spot on Saturday at 6 p.m. in Worcester, Mass.