Men’s Lacrosse Falls to Lehigh in Patriot League Tournament: After Disappointing Loss, Team Looks to Rally Against Syracuse

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The men’s lacrosse team early in its 2018 season showed promise, starting 3-0 with a victory over nationally ranked Cornell, but went 3-5 in conference play and had a short-lived Patriot League tournament campaign, losing to Lehigh in the first round. 

Cassie Warwick, Maroon-News Staff

On Tuesday, April 24, the Colgate men’s lacrosse team traveled to Bethlehem, Penn. to face Lehigh in the first round of the Patriot League Tournament. The Raiders had previously lost to Lehigh 7-10 earlier in the season. Although the team had a strong finish, the Raiders were unable to come up with the postseason win. The Raiders lost 6-11 in the quarterfinals of the tournament. 

The Raiders started the game on a slow note, with Lehigh leading 3-0 after the first quarter. Junior midfielder Matt Donovan was able to put the Raiders on the board in the second quarter. With 12:43 left before the half, Donovan scored on Lehigh unassisted. This lessened the gap to 3-1. However, Lehigh responded and scored another three goals before the half was over. Unable to keep possession, the Raiders headed into halftime trailing by five goals, 6-1. 

In the third quarter, within 10 seconds of each other, first-year attackman James Caddigan Jr. and junior midfielder Will Blumenberg both tallied unassisted goals. This brought the score to 7-3 with 7:32 left in the third. At the end of the third and beginning of the fourth quarters, the Mountain Hawks added four straight goals. The score was 11-3 with 11:05 to play. 

In the final 11 minutes of play, the team gained some momentum. Assisted by junior midfielder Duncan Hoskinson, Donovan scored his 13th goal of the season. With two goals and one assist, Donovan led the team in points for this game. Donovan’s goal late in the fourth quarter sparked the Raiders final effort. Senior attackman Chase Wittich and junior attackman Sam Cleveland both scored within a minute of each other, making the score 11-6 with 2:46 to play. 

Cleveland’s assist to Wittich in the final quarter was his 30th of the season, joining the all-time Colgate chart for number of assists. Cleveland is only four assists shy of the season record of 34 set in 1985. Although the Raiders outshot the Mountain Hawks 12-6 in the fourth quarter, they were unable to stage a comeback.

“The better team won tonight; all the credit goes to Lehigh. I like the way that we prepared, I like the effort we got. But at this time of the year, when you’re in playoff mode and you’re in games like this, your imperfections show. Some of our imperfections showed, some of our indecision against the zone – we missed a handful of opportunities. But I liked my team’s effort. I like that we fought for 60 minutes. It may not have been great execution, but I’m proud of our effort,” head coach Mike Murphy said.

This loss moved Colgate to 7-7 overall and 3-5 in the Patriot League Conference. Lehigh moved on to the Patriot League semifinals on Friday, April 27, and won in overtime against Navy, 10-9. The Mountain Hawks will now face Loyola in the Patriot League championship. 

“Tuesday was a tough one for us, we came out with a lot of energy but we just couldn’t execute. But now we are ready for our next one against Syracuse and we are going to bring it,” Wittich said.

Next up for the Raiders is a non-conference game against Syracuse on Saturday, May 5. The game will begin at 2 p.m. and ACC Network Extra will broadcast all the action.

Contact Cassie Warwick at [email protected]