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The Lafayette

The Oldest College Newspaper in Pennsylvania

The Lafayette

The Oldest College Newspaper in Pennsylvania

The Lafayette

Men’s lacrosse loses to Lehigh despite Kraham hat trick

Junior attacker Kalman Kraham dodges a defender. (Photo courtesy of GoLeopards)

The men’s lacrosse team (4-7 overall, 1-4 Patriot League) lost the 2023 Rivalry game 15-9 last Saturday afternoon. The Leopards now sit second from the bottom in the Patriot League standings. 

Lehigh currently sits in third place in the conference standings, as its record moved to 6-3 overall and 3-1 in the conference following the game in Bethlehem. Last year, the Mountain Hawks finished in fourth and lost to Boston University in the Patriot League Semifinals. 

Junior attacker Kalman Kraham was one of six different goal scorers for the Maroon and White on Saturday, scoring a hat trick. Coincidentally, the Maplewood, New Jersey native also netted three goals in his first ever performance against Lehigh in 2021. 

“Scoring against Lehigh always feels special,” Kraham said. “The emotions are definitely elevated when playing those guys. Especially in the last few years, I think we have changed the narrative about lacrosse here in the Lehigh Valley.”

Kraham has 14 goals and eight assists to his name this season, starting in all but one game. A proven marksman, he notched an impressive 28 goals last season and added 10 assists as well. 

“I think each year is its own story,” Kraham said. “Roles change, and new teammates arrive. Just this year, we welcomed a new [assistant] coach. So I think each season is special, and I just want to make sure I enjoy the ride before it comes to an end.”

After heading into halftime up 5-3, Lehigh added another six goals in the third quarter.

While Lafayette responded with five goals in the fourth, their effort wasn’t enough for the comeback.

“I think after halftime we wanted to stick to the plan and leave it all out on the field,” Kraham said. “We pride ourselves on competing until the final whistle, which is exactly what we tried to do on Saturday.”

Senior defender and three-time captain Sean Rushton scored his fifth career goal on Saturday night. While it’s a rare feat for a defender, it wasn’t the first time Rushton has scored against top-level competition like the Mountain Hawks. In fact, his five career goals have been against elite, nationally-ranked teams like Penn State and Virginia.

The loss to Lehigh on Saturday has become a familiar sight for the Leopards over the years. The last time the men’s lacrosse team was victorious over the Mountain Hawks was the year that Barack Obama was inaugurated and Michael Jackson died.

As the league rolls into the final stretch of the season, the playoff picture has become more clear. No. 8 Lafayette, No. 7 Colgate and No. 6 Bucknell are tied with one win as they fight for the sixth and final spot. However, No. 5 Navy will be keeping an eye on the standings, as they only have two wins this season.

The Leopards, who have crucial games against Holy Cross, Bucknell and Navy left to play, will have to garner a few more wins to make the conference tournament, something the program has not done before.

“I think we need to focus on our strengths, regroup and get right back to work,” Kraham said. “Offensively, I think we are striving to play connected as a unit and tough for sixty minutes. It’s something we have done in the past, but we need to get back to playing our brand of lacrosse.”

The Leopards are back at Fisher Stadium tomorrow at noon, as they have the chance to notch another victory against winless Holy Cross. 

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Eric Ponieman
Eric Ponieman, Assistant Sports Editor
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