REENVILLE, S.C. – Senior Cody Ferraro, junior Patrick Corbett and sophomore Reid Weber paced the offense with hat tricks while the defense held Furman to just 15 shots as the No. 17/19 Lehigh men's lacrosse team opened the 2014 season with a 13-6 win on Saturday afternoon. The Mountain Hawks broke a 2-2 tie with a 4-1 second quarter on their way to a fifth straight season opening victory.
The game was Furman's debut as a DI program.
"There were some good things, some bad things. I thought both teams were sloppy at spots, but I thought both teams played really hard," said Lehigh head coach Kevin Cassese. "It was a physical battle. I was impressed with Furman. They played really hard and came out with nothing to lose. A pretty close game heading into halftime, we needed a big second half to gain some separation."
The hat tricks were the first of both Ferraro and Weber's careers and fifth by Corbett. Juniors Jack Bogorowski, Kurtis Kaunas and Dan Taylor along with sophomore Alex Eaton added Lehigh's other goals. Ferraro added an assist for a game (and career) high four points. Senior Matt Smith dished a pair of assists.
"I felt great for Cody Ferraro," said Cassese. "He led the season off with the first goal. He came right out of the box and stuck one. He played well. We got a good lift from Reid Weber in his first start for our program. Those guys helped carry the load. Patrick came back and first time really playing live competition this year, he had three goals and played really hard as well."
Sophomore Tripp Telesco had three groundballs and a caused turnover to help lead the defense while fellow close defenseman Lukas Mikelinich had two and Ty Souders one.
Goals from Ferraro and Corbett gave Lehigh an early 2-0 lead less than five minutes into the game.
Furman responded with goals at 5:29 and 4:28 to even the score after one quarter of play.
Taylor broke the tie at 8:52 of the second quarter before Corbett made it 4-2 just over a minute later. After Kaunas made it three straight Lehigh goals, Furman pulled within 5-3 but Corbett scored her third of the first half with just seven seconds left on the clock.
Junior Ryan Buttenbaum won 5-of-6 third-quarter faceoffs while the Mountain Hawks held a 13-3 edge in groundballs to help gain separation. After the Paladins pulled within 6-4, Lehigh scored four straight to end the third quarter capped off by two in a row from Weber, making it 10-4 after 45 minutes of play.
The success continued in the fourth as the Mountain Hawks outscored the Paladins 3-2 for the 13-6 final.
Lehigh held a 42-15 edge in shots and 30-19 in groundballs. Buttenbaum won 13-of-22 faceoffs while senior Matt Poillon made six saves. Furman goalie Frazer Kinsley was strong, making 12 saves including nine in the first half.
Graham Dabbs and Clay Adams tallied two goals apiece for Furman, which was playing its first-ever Division I lacrosse game. The Paladins are coached by former Navy coach Richie Meade, who is also head coach of the U.S. Men's National Team. Cassese is one of Meade's assistants.
"I was very impressed by Coach Meade," Cassese said. "He had his guys ready to play. They played like a Coach Meade coached team. They were ready to play. Their goalie played well. That was a big difference in the game. We could have been up four or five goals, but had to work really hard to be up three."
The Mountain Hawks will open their home schedule next Saturday when they welcome Marquette to the Ulrich Sports Complex. Faceoff is set for noon with streaming video available via the Patriot League Network.