March 20, 2012

Tuesday Extras: From Writers

by staff

Each week, staff and writers at games across the country bring you extra opinion, analysis and news that goes beyond what's written in the game stories.

Lehigh Finds Maturity in Freshman Goalie

The Mountain Hawks and freshman goalie Matt Poillon travel in-state to State College, Pa., to face Penn State on Tuesday night.
© Kevin P. Tucker

Game Story: 'Mountain Hawks Keeps Magic Going, Beat Army'

With its 9-8 road win over then-No. 4 North Carolina on the third day of March, the Lehigh men's lacrosse team took a giant stride toward national prominence. The Mountain Hawks continued with another small step forward Saturday.

No. 11 Lehigh knocked off Patriot League rival Army 7-6 and coach Kevin Cassese's squad seems to possess the look of a program determined to stay among the elite.

"Rankings are rankings. They come and go," Cassese said on the turf field at Lehigh's Ulrich Sports Complex on Saturday. "It is exciting to be recognized, though. As a coach, I'm proud of our maturity."

The Mountain Hawks, with a sixth consecutive victory, is 7-1 overall and 1-0 in the league.

Maturity is coming from an unlikely source in freshman goalkeeper Matthew Poillon. A two-time Patriot League award winner, Poillon entered play Saturday allowing 5.91 goals per game, which ranked third nationally.

Even Poillon expressed surprise over his immediate success at the collegiate level.

While Poillon and the Mountain Hawk defenders make scoring difficult for opponents, junior attack David DiMaria has contributed a team-best 22 points (11 goals, 11 assists). Against Army, junior attack Dante Fantoni exploded for a three-goal game.

Note to future opponents: Lehigh looks legit. The Mountain Hawks travel to play Penn State on Tuesday night.

"We've had a lot of chances to have a letdown," Cassese said. "And we haven't allowed that to happen yet. Hopefully it doesn't happen now." – MICHAEL BLOUSE

Quick Turnaround for Denver, Notre Dame

Game Story: 'Wake Up The Offense: Notre Dame Beats Denver in Triple Overtime'

Sunday's triple-overtime thriller between then-No. 8 Notre Dame and No. 9 Denver may have been the most entertaining game of a busy weekend in college lacrosse. The scene of the Irish throwing their gear in the air after Sean Rogers' game-winner was one of pure elation, while the Pioneers, who collapsed around the field, showed the desperation of losing after 70 minutes of hard work.

But whether they hit highs or lows, both teams will have to recover in a hurry.

The Irish will have to get focused for their trip to the Horseshoe, where they'll take on Ohio State on Wednesday. When asked about the importance of his team's win over Denver, Irish coach Kevin Corrigan was quick to turn his focus to the Buckeyes.

"We're still in the early part of the season," he said. "It means we've got a great win in the bank against an excellent Denver team, and it means we've got a short week to get ready for Ohio State."

Denver will have an even tougher challenge, as they'll head to New York and look to rebound against No. 4 Cornell on Tuesday at Hofstra University on Long Island. Facing Cornell with one day of rest will be especially difficult after the emotional drain of erasing a four goal Irish lead, only to lose in the third extra period.

"We made the long comeback and fought for it," Pioneers coach Bill Tierney said. "It was a tough way to go down."

Denver goaltender Jamie Faus is out with a lower leg injury. While running out for the third overtime Sunday, Faus collapsed to the turf and had to be helped off the field with a leg injury. He didn't put any weight on his left leg and stood on crutches at the end of the game. He will be further evaluated with the team returns to Denver on Wednesday.

The Big Red boast a 4-1 record, with their only loss coming to No. 1 Virginia at the Face-Off Classic. – JACK HEFFERON

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