Time was running out for Boston University men’s lacrosse co-captain Matt Hilburn as he cradled the ball behind the net with two Lehigh defenders draped over him.
At last, Hilburn, a senior attack, spotted co-captain Timmy Ley cutting toward the goal. Ley, contorting his body to avoid the defense, fired a backhand shot with five seconds left on the clock.
When the shot bounced off the turf and into the back of the net, the BU bench erupted into elation.
The remaining seconds ticked away and the Terriers (10-3, 7-0 Patriot League) left Frank Banko Field with a 9-8 win over the Mountain Hawks (7-5, 5-2 PL) and the program’s first-ever Patriot League regular season title.
With the win, BU also clinched the top seed and home-field advantage throughout the Patriot League playoffs.
“It was just a great team win,” said BU head coach Ryan Polley. “I’m really happy for the way the season has gone and certainly getting today.”
Ley, a senior attack, led the Terriers with three goals and extended his NCAA-best scoring streak to 35 games. Junior attack Louis Perfetto earned four points off one goal and three assists.
Junior attack Vince D’Alto scored three points on two goals and an assist, pushing his point streak to 28 games and goal streak to 26 games.
The Mountain Hawks were led by junior attack Christian Mule’, who tallied five points from a game-high four goals along with one assist. Senior attack Tommy Schelling also recorded five points –– all from assists.
Polley noted the Terriers’ stellar all-around performance as a key factor in Saturday’s win, especially from junior midfielder Conor Calderone.
“He certainly rose to the occasion,” said Polley of Calderone. “He’s been terrific for us all year and was a big part of today’s win.”
Calderone has been efficient for the Terriers all season, however, he faced his toughest opponent of the season in Lehigh senior midfielder Mike Sisselberger.
Sisselberger entered the game with a 67% success rate on faceoffs –– the second highest faceoff win percentage in men’s Division I NCAA lacrosse. Sisselberger also took home the PL Faceoff Specialist of the Year award last season.
Calderone won 62% of the faceoffs and held Sisselberger to a career-low 38% faceoff win rate.
His success and the efficient Terrier offense was complemented by a strong defensive performance.
“Our defense played really well, really tough,” said Polley. “[Lehigh] certainly have a lot of firepower and we did a great job.”
BU junior defender Roy Meyer entered the game leading the NCAA in caused turnovers per game. The New York native caused four turnovers and collected five ground balls in Saturday’s matchup, both were game highs.
The Terriers will host a Patriot League rival in the United States Military Academy on Friday at 8 p.m.
“Everyone has put a lot of blood, sweat and tears into this,” said Polley. “For it to come to fruition and for us to win that first regular-season championship is incredible.”