HAMILTON, N.Y. - Five players scored multiple goals and freshman goalkeeper Matt Poillon stopped 14 in the cage to lift second-seeded Lehigh to a thrilling 16-14 victory over No. 1 seed Colgate in the championship game of the 2012 Patriot League Men's Lacrosse Tournament.
It's the first tournament title in school history for Lehigh, which earns an automatic berth to the NCAA Tournament, which begins in two weeks. The Mountain Hawks will make their first trip to the national tournament.
Three Lehigh players tallied hat tricks, with Brian Hess, David DiMaria and Dante Fantoni scoring three goals apiece. Fantoni added one assist in Sunday's title game, and had two goals and three helpers for five points on Friday. He totaled nine points for the weekend and was named Patriot League Tournament Most Valuable Player.
Peter Baum was sensational again for Colgate. Two days after breaking the single-game tournament record with nine points and tying the single-game goal record with five, he logged another nine points on three goals and six assists. He set two-game tournament records with 10 goals and 18 points.
Colgate's Jeff Ledwick matched the tournament single-game record for goals as well, scoring five in the Raiders' championship loss.
In all, a total of 23 tournament records were either broken or matched over the weekend, in both team and individual categories.
Lehigh opened the game on a 5-0 run, with Dan Taylor scoring at the 12:43 mark of the first quarter to give the Mountain Hawks an early lead. Taylor dented the twine twice during the early run, with Blaise Fullen, Fantoni and DiMaria scoring also. DiMaria's goal came at the 14:01 mark of the second quarter.
With Colgate seemingly on the ropes, the Raiders replied 1:31 later, as Baum found Ledwick for the first of the latter's five tallies on the day at the 12:30 mark. The Raiders scored 25 seconds later when Baum found Ryan Collins, and Robert Grabher scored five seconds later to bring Colgate within 5-3.
Collins' and Grabher's tallies were the fastest back-to-back goals in Patriot League Tournament history.
The momentum turned again. With Colgate up a man, Poillon came up with a big save and Lehigh defenseman Ty Souders picked up the ground ball, streaked down the middle of the field and scored a man-down tally to snap Colgate's run and put the Mountain Hawks ahead 6-3.
The Raiders got back on the board again, as Ledwick scored an even-strength goal and Rookie of the Year Ryan Walsh converted a man-up opportunity to bring Colgate within 6-5 at the 5:23 mark of the second quarter.
Lehigh ended the first half on a 3-0 run, with Hess, DiMaria and Fantoni converting. Lehigh led 9-5 at the half.
Colgate scored two of the first three goals of the third quarter to bring the game within 10-7, but Roman Lao-Gosney and Hess netted back-to-back tallies within two minutes of each other to give Lehigh a 12-7 advantage.
The Raiders rallied again by scoring four of the next five. Ledwick scored with the man-advantage with 2:17 left in the third, and Baum converted a Grabher feed seven seconds later to cut Lehigh's lead to 13-10. Ledwick found the net again with 1:15 to go and Colgate trailed 13-11.
Lehigh scored for the second time with time winding down in a quarter. DiMaria's unassisted tally with 11 seconds remaining gave the Mountain Hawks a three-goal cushion again at 14-11.
Fantoni and Cameron Lao-Gosney scored the first two goals of the fourth quarter as Lehigh extended its lead to 16-11.
The Raiders mounted one final rally, as Baum's unassisted goal on a tremendous individual effort brought Colgate within 16-12. Brendon McCann and Walsh scored again late in the fourth quarter for Colgate, but time ran out as the Mountain Hawks secured the two-goal win.
Joining Fantoni on the All-Tournament Team from Lehigh were DiMaria, Mike Noone and Ryan Snyder. Snyder was 15-of-32 on face-offs in the game, nearly splitting the draws at the `X' with Grabher, who was 17-of-33 for Colgate.
Colgate's All-Tournament representatives were Baum, Ledwick and Bobby Lawrence.
Army and Bucknell each placed two on the All-Tournament team. Representing Army were Derek Sipperly and Conor Hayes, while Nick Gantsoudes and Ryan Gutowski made it from Bucknell.
Lehigh finds out its NCAA Tournament destination next Sunday, May 6.
There are three regular-season games left involving Patriot League teams. Holy Cross heads to Dartmouth Tuesday at 4 p.m., while two games will take place next weekend. Colgate hosts Maryland Saturday at 1 p.m., with the Raiders in the hunt for a potential at-large berth to the NCAA Tournament. Meanwhile, Army heads to Johns Hopkins Saturday at 2 p.m.
2012 Patriot League Men's Lacrosse All-Tournament Team Derek Sipperly, Army Conor Hayes, Army Nick Gantsoudes, Bucknell Ryan Gutowski, Bucknell Peter Baum, Colgate Bobby Lawrence, Colgate Jeff Ledwick, Colgate David DiMaria, Lehigh Ryan Snyder, Lehigh Mike Noone, Lehigh Dante Fantoni, Lehigh (MVP)
2012 Patriot League Men's Lacrosse Tournament Results
Friday, April 27 No. 1 Colgate 14, No. 4 Bucknell 9 No. 2 Lehigh 13, No. 3 Army 7