The Bison men’s lacrosse team ended its regular season with a 15-7 win against Lehigh on April 22. Friday’s game celebrated the nine Bison seniors, but more importantly, the win secured the team’s spot as the No. 3 seed in the Patriot League Tournament. It also gave the Bison home field advantage in their quarterfinal game on April 26. Prior to this win, the Bison and Lehigh were tied for fourth place.
The Orange and Blue had a phenomenal night on the face-off, winning 24 of 26 draws. Jarett Witzal ’19 had another record-setting night at the face-off X, going 22 for 24. In addition to scoring his first career goal, Witzal also picked up 12 ground balls for the Bison.
Lehigh entered the night averaging just under 11 goals per game. The Bison defense took away Lehigh’s offensive edge, holding them to seven goals of 25 shots. Goalie Christian Klipstein ’19 made eight saves, and the Bison defense limited Lehigh’s scoring opportunities by causing turnovers and being scrappy while the ball was on the ground.
Matt Gilray ’18 took a break from his usual role as a defensive midfielder and played Friday’s game as a close defender, shutting down one of Lehigh’s top scorers. Gilray picked up two ground balls and recorded two caused turnovers and a goal. Defenseman Mike Schiappa ’17 also caused two turnovers.
Attacker Sean Doyle ’16 racked up a total of three goals, which pushed him to eighth place on the University’s career goals list with 96.
“It was a huge night for our senior class and we were preparing that way all week. We knew it would be a battle and at the end of the day we wanted to start it. It’s huge for our morale and team unity to end the regular season off with such a dominant performance. It was an overall solid team effort that began with Witzal at the face-off X. We are hoping to continue getting better each day and peak at the right time heading into the post season,” Doyle said.
Additionally, Will Sands ’18 recorded an incredible two goals and four assists, Quinn Collison ’17 scored two goals and had an assist, and Tommy O’Connor ’17 and Kyle Shanahan ’16 scored two goals apiece.
Although Lehigh scored the first goal just under five minutes into the game, the Bison scored six straight goals to reassert themselves in the game. Among those who scored in this six-goal string were Doyle, O’Connor, Gilray, Sands, Shanahan, and Collison.
Lehigh slowly crept up throughout the first half and were the first to score in the second half, making it a three-goal game. Despite this, the Bison remained composed and Sands found Collison for a quick stick goal. Lehigh quickly answered. The Bison finally regained their momentum in the end of the third quarter, scoring two goals in six seconds. This put the Bison at a 10-5 advantage. After a desperate attempt to get the ball back, Lehigh fouled O’Connor, giving O’Connor the chance to rip a shot past the Lehigh goalie. Witzal won the following draw and ran with it until he fired a shot into the back of the net. The Bison took advantage of every opportunity over the course of all four quarters, even after securing a demanding lead. With just over four minutes left in the game, Connor O’Hara ’18 scored off a rebound, bringing the score to 15-6.
The game was all about ball possession, which was highlighted by the Bison’s success on the draw. The Bison controlled the game in the air and on the ground with a 46-25 shot advantage and 35-20 groundball advantage.