Men’s lacrosse upsets first place Lehigh to keep playoff hopes alive

Justin Schaumberger, Senior Writer

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The Bison men’s lacrosse team pulled off a major upset after knocking off conference rival Lehigh 12-10 in Bethlehem, Pa. on April 20. Lehigh entered the game in first place in the Patriot League regular season standings. This win improves the Bison’s overall record to 5-8 and to 3-4 in the Patriot League, keeping its chance of a postseason berth alive.

 

The Bison started the game off strong, scoring five of the first six goals in the first 11 minutes of the first quarter. Attacker Tommy Sopko ’21 scored a hat trick within the first seven minutes of the game. Lehigh then came roaring back to cut the deficit to 6-5 going into the second half. The rest of the game was a back and forth affair with neither team leading by more than two goals at any point.

 

“Although Lehigh made the game very close before half and in the third, we felt like we had controlled the game,” goalkeeper Christian Klipstein ’19 said. “I thought coming out of half time, our entire team really realized that we had one half to keep our season alive.”

 

Midfielder Ryan Durkin ’19 scored the go-ahead goal for the Bison off a feed from Sopko with 10:13 left in the fourth quarter. Attacker Alston Tarry ’22 then sealed the victory for the Bison with an unassisted goal with less than three minutes left in the contest.

 

Both Sopko and attacker Will Yorke ’20 turned in five-point performances, collecting three goals and two assists each. Six other Bison found the net, including midfielder Reed Malas ’19, who scored his 50th collegiate goal, and defender Conor Shears ’20, who scored his first collegiate goal. Shears and Malas also collected a combined 10 ground balls.

 

Defender Bryant Boswell ’21 and midfielder Matt Fedorjaka ’20 were rock-solid defensively for the Bison and caused multiple Lehigh turnovers. Klipstein stood tall in goal for the Orange and Blue, stopping 15 shots on goal, including three crucial saves to protect the Bison’s narrow lead in the fourth quarter.

 

The Bison showed grit and determination throughout the entire game to grind out the tough road win. Lehigh held a slight advantage in shots (45-37) and faceoffs (17-25), but the Bison kept control of the tempo of the game by limiting their turnovers and winning a majority of the ground balls. The Orange and Blue also showed great resilience by not folding after they saw their four-goal lead evaporate after being held scoreless for 21 straight minutes.

 

This win was crucial for the Bison, as it keeps their hopes of making the Patriot League Tournament alive. The Bison host Colgate (4-8) on April 26 as they look to extend their winning streak to four games and punch their postseason ticket. The game will be aired on CBS Sports Network.

 

“Going into the Colgate game, we are all very excited to compete for an opportunity to clinch a spot in the Patriot League tournament,” Sopko said. “We always love playing Colgate, but now that a win gives us a spot in the Patriot League tournament, this game means that much more for us.”

 

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