Beyond the grate: what The Rivalry means to Lehigh Sports

The rivalry between Lehigh and Lafayette extends beyond the football field and extends to other sports programs, expanding traditions and bringing the sports community together.

Because both schools are members of the Patriot League conference, they meet in each of their respective sports at least once per sports season. While the focus is on the game of football and the traditions of Le-Laf, Lehigh’s other sports teams also have their own histories with their encounters against Lafayette.

Reed Fenton, captain of the senior men’s basketball team, said the Rivalry basketball game means more to the team than other games, even though the team plays Lafayette twice a year instead of just once. Teams play once in Lehigh and once in Lafayette in a given year.

“Every year we try to beat them both times, or if we lose the first time, we have extra motivation to beat them the second time,” Fenton said. “We’ve broken up with them every time I’ve been here, so we’re definitely hoping to beat them both times this year.”

Last year, the Lehigh men’s basketball team reached the semifinals of the Patriot League, where they lost to eventual conference champion Colgate. Because of that, Fenton said her dedication to winning this season was the highest in a long time, especially against her rival.

“We definitely see an increase in attendance whenever Lafayette comes to Stabler (Arena), especially if it’s during the school year and the students are back on campus,” Fenton said. “Last year we had a good student section, the crowd was great at every game, but definitely at the Lafayette game we saw a lot more fans than usual.”

As of 2002, Lehigh is 27-19 in his men’s basketball matchups against Lafayette.

Ryelle Shuey, a senior midfielder for the women’s soccer team, said the team no longer has a particular tradition of playing games against Lafayette. However, during Le Laf week in their first year, each class presented candles to the class below them in a ceremonial tradition.

As with other sports, Shuey said her team prioritizes winning the Le Laf matchup over most other games of the season.

Lehigh Women’s Soccer defeated Lafayette 2-0 in their matchup earlier this year on September 22 in Lehigh. Since 2003, Lehigh has won 15 of his 20 matchups against Lafayette.

“It’s something we keep from them because it’s the longest running rivalry in NCAA sport, so I think winning that rivalry is very important for us and we take it very seriously,” Shuey said.

Although the Le Laf football game is played in the fall, The Rivalry still extends to spring sports, including baseball.

“We’re definitely getting up a little bit more for the games against Lafayette,” said junior infielder Tyler Young. “It definitely counts a bit more to beat your rival. There’s definitely a different kind of energy when we play Lafayette.”

The Lehigh and Lafayette baseball teams meet at the Diamond five times a year, four of them over a weekend. As of 2004, Lehigh has been 45-34 in Le Laf games.


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