BETHLEHEM, Pa. — Junior attackman Sam Jones (Annapolis, Md.) played a role in six of the Mids’ seven goals, but it wouldn’t be enough as the 18th-ranked Lehigh men’s lacrosse team dealt Navy a 12-7 loss on a sunny afternoon at Ulrich Sports Complex in Bethlehem, Pa. The Mids, who have lost seven of their last eight games, are now 3-7 overall and 1-4 in Patriot League contests, while the Mountain Hawks are 7-4 and 3-0 in conference action.
“We really didn’t get settled in until the second quarter,” said second-year Navy head coach Rick Sowell. “Give Lehigh credit, their offense got going quickly and it was an uphill battle for us from there.
“Our defense has played tough all year, but we just haaven’t been able to find a way to get the ball into the back of the net on the offensive side.”
Lehigh scored the game’s first goal when Navy senior defenseman Austin Miller’s (North Bethesda, Md.) clearing pass was intercepted by Dante Fantoni and he quickly found Alex Drake for the goal at 13:43. The Mids answered two minutes later when Jones scored the first of his season-high four goals on an unassisted strike.
At the 8:27 mark, senior midfielder Noah Molnar targeted a 15-yard shot that slipped past Navy keeper Nolan Hickey’s (Chaminade, N.Y.) left shoulder and sparked five straight goals by the Mountain Hawks.
After being held without a goal for nearly 16 minutes, Navy finally scored its second goal of the game at the 10:46 mark in the second quarter when senior faceoff specialist Evan McGoogan (Cranberry Township, Pa.) won the draw and fed Jones for the goal. It was McGoogan’s first collegiate point.
With a 6-2 halftime advantage, Lehigh extended its lead by scoring the first three goals of the third quarter including sophomore attackman Dan Taylor’s third goal of the game.
The Mids got on the scoreboard at the 4:46 mark in the third when, on a timer-on situation, Jones sent a cross-the-field pass to rookie attackman T.J. Hanzsche (Berwyn, Pa.) who was anchored on the right crease and stuffed in his sixth goal of the season.
Lehigh answered two minutes later when Kurtis Kaunas fired off another long shot at Hickey to give Lehigh a 10-3 lead after three quarters of play.
Navy put together as fine a quarter as they’ve had in recent weeks when it scored four goals in the final 15 minutes. Junior midfielder Erik Hoffstadt (Dover, Del.) kicked it off with an extra-man goal 14 seconds into the final stanza off an assist from Jones.
Lehigh answered with back-to-back goals by Kyle Stiefel and Patrick Corbett, who took advantage of the goalie change from Hickey to rookie John Connors at the beginning of the fourth quarter.
Navy, however, regrouped and scored the final three goals of the game, including a pair by Jones.
Jones finished the game with four goals and two assists, marking his third-career six-point game the first of the season. He is the third Navy player this season to register six points and first since fellow attackman Tucker Hull (Charlotte, N.C.) put up six against Detroit in mid-February. Meanwhile, he is the first player to post four goals in a game since Gabe Voumard’s (Cape May, N.J.) four-goal effort in a one-goal loss to Fairfield in mid-February.
Meanwhile, Jones came into the contest 10 points shy of the century mark but is now just four points short of becoming the 31st player in program history to reach the elusive 100-point milestone. Hull scored his 100th point earlier this season against Towson.
Miller led Navy with a career-high eight ground balls and two caused turnovers, while Jones, defenseman Jay Christopher (Winston-Salem, N.C.) and long pole Pat Kiernan (Ridgewood, N.J.) also contributed a pair of takeaways.
McGoogan, meanwhile, won 11 of the 21 faceoffs he took and in doing so moved from 15th to 13th on Navy’s career faceoffs won list with 98. He trails 12th-place Michael Schaal by 11.
Nine different players accounted for Lehigh’s 12 goals with Taylor (3) and Corbett (2) being the lone multi-goal scorers on the day for the Mountain Hawks. Reigning Patriot League Goalkeeper of the Year Matt Poillon came up with nine saves for Lehigh, while Dante Fantoni and Tripp Telesco registered three caused turnovers.
After three straight games on the road, the Mids finally return home on Friday when they play host to No. 2 Maryland at Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium. CBS Sports Network will televise the contest beginning at 7:00 pm with Dave Ryan and Evan Washburn calling the action.