Men’s Lacrosse: BU triumphs over Lehigh in OT in Patriot League Semifinals

Sophomore attack/midfield Tommy Bourque (51) celebrates with senior attack Vince D’Alto (11), following Bourque’s game-winning overtime goal against Lehigh on May 6, 2022. JOE EACHUS/WTBU SPORTS

By Joe Eachus

Needing an extra frame to punch their ticket to the Patriot League Championship, the Boston University men’s lacrosse team took down the Lehigh Mountain Hawks, 13-12.

The No. 16 Terriers (11-4, 7-1 PL) advance to their first conference championship in program history with the win, as the #1 seed in the tournament.

“What a game… a ton of credit to Lehigh,” BU head coach Ryan Polley said postgame. “They came at us, but at the end of the day we got it together and made one more play than them. It’s been our Achilles heel against Lehigh, a lot of one-goal games where they’ve been able to make one more play. I’m just really proud of my guys that we could make that play when it mattered the most.”

The BU offense was effective in sharing the wealth, with nine different players notching at least a point in the game. The attack trio of juniors Louis Perfetto and Vince D’Alto, and senior Timmy Ley, led the way with 14 points between them.

“I think that’s when we’re at our best,” Polley noted. “[I got asked] ‘who needs to be MVP?’ and if we have a really hard time figuring that out, we have the best shot at winning. It’s really hard to key on one player, because we do share the ball so well.”

Defensively, sophomore Dane DeGoler set a career-high with six ground balls. Junior Roy Meyer scooped up five ground balls of his own, in addition to five caused turnovers. Senior goalie Matt Garber made 11 saves on 23 shots on goal to earn the win in net.

Junior face-off specialist Conor Calderone had an uncharacteristically weak day at the face-off X, going 35.7 percent on the draw.

For Lehigh, graduate goalie James Spence tied his season-high with 15 saves, doing all he could to put the Mountain Hawks in position to win.

The opening quarter was a back-and-forth battle, with the Terriers and Mountain Hawks trading leads and ties, and BU led after one thanks to a last-second goal by senior attackman Matt Hilburn.

Much of the same followed in the second, but an extended 3-0 Terrier run in the back half sent BU to the locker room with a two-goal lead.

Building off their halftime momentum, three more unanswered Terrier goals followed to stretch the lead to five, a run which included Ley finishing his ninth hat trick of the season.

Despite holding onto a four-goal lead after three quarters, BU fell flat in the fourth to let Lehigh tie the game and send it into overtime.

“We came out at the start of the second half and played some great ball. … and they just never gave up,” Polley said.

Heading into overtime, the Terriers dominated possession, with five shots on two possessions. Finally, at the 1:14 mark, sophomore attack/midfield Tommy Bourque scored on a bouncer that found its way past Spence to end the game.

“I just saw an open lane and took the shot,” Bourque said of his goal. “Moving the ball, hitting spots, being open for our attackmen, and being fast, playing with space. I think that helped a lot.”

The win earned BU a date with a familiar face, Army West Point, whom the Terriers played to a 15-14 loss to end the regular season. With a conference championship and a trip to the NCAA tournament on the line, Polley said it’s the culmination of years of work.

“It’s part of our progression. We’ve built this thing, had some really tough losses in other semifinals. Just trying to get this program to the next step,” he said. “This year’s team has had a lot of firsts, and we feel accomplished that we got there. Sunday is going to be a really hard test, and that’s our ultimate goal: win the Patriot League championship, secure that at-large bid, and get to the NCAA tournament. Work’s certainly not done, but today was a big step and hopefully on Sunday we can take a bigger one.”

BU will host Army for the championship on Sunday, with opening draw scheduled for noon at Nickerson Field.