Friday the 13th Not Unlucky for Field Hockey

Friday, September 13, 2013
 

Kayleigh Thies and the Muhlenberg field hockey team weren’t about to let a little dose of bad luck on Friday the 13th get them down. Instead, they made their own, and had a nice prize to show for it.

Sierra Lenker
Lenker has allowed only two goals while making 10 saves in her last two games.
Thies blasted home a pair of goals and assisted on another as the Mules came back from an early hole to post a 3-1 victory over McDaniel in the first Centennial Conference contest of the season. The junior had a shot ricochet off the post late in the first half only to find the back of the cage just after intermission for the game-winner as the Mules won their second straight game and took over sole possession of first place in the conference, if only for a little while.

“I felt great,” said Thies, who produced a five-point night just two days after teammate Bridget McNally accomplished the feat in a 5-1 win over King’s. “It’s a total team effort. When I have girls next to me saying, ‘you know you can get a shot in,’ it’s like, ‘ok, I’ll get the shot in for you and not just for me.’ I love scoring for my team.”

Thies did more than that for the Mules (2-2, 1-0), who found themselves in a 1-0 hole just six minutes into the game before settling in. Muhlenberg controlled play after that, scoring all three of its goals off penalty corners and turning aside several breakaway chances to preserve the victory. Junior goalie Sierra Lenker made six saves, stoning the Green Terror on the doorstep on multiple occasions, junior back Ray Gallagher made a defensive save, and Thies set up senior Erin Cummings for a late goal to ice it.

Erin Cummings
Cummings gets congratulated by fellow senior Mariah Alston (16) and other teammates following her eighth career goal.
“We started out a little bit slow,” Thies said of the Mules, who outshot McDaniel, 11-5, in the second half and 20-12 for the game. “We got frazzled, but once we all huddle in and tell each other we’re better than this, we pull it together. Our defense stepped up and kept them off the board for the rest of the game.”

While the defense stymied the Green Terror (2-3, 0-1), Thies was terrorizing McDaniel with a powerful shot that had defenders jumping out of the way. She pulled the Mules even in the 21st minute, sending a high blast into the top of the cage off a penalty corner taken by junior forward Samantha Swire. It looked like she had given Muhlenberg the lead three minutes before halftime, but her well-placed snipe rattled the post and the Green Terror was able to neutralize the threat.

“That,” Thies said of hitting the post, “was the worst.”

Undaunted by the stroke of misfortune, Thies went right back to work after halftime. The junior made another Mules corner count, guiding a strong shot through the goalie’s legs and into the back of the cage for a 2-1 lead in the 39th minute.

Muhlenberg continued to dictate play, but the Mules didn’t have a comfortable lead to show for it until Thies set another successful penalty corner into motion. Cummings, appropriately wearing number 13, was on the receiving end of Thies’ pass and knew just what to do with it, powering a shot by the McDaniel goalie to give the Mules some breathing room. The assist was, coincidentally, the 13th of Thies’ career, placing her in a tie for sixth on Muhlenberg’s all-time list.

Though Muhlenberg will have sole possession of first place for less than 24 hours, sitting atop the conference standings at any point in the season is a welcome sight for a program that went 8-22 in the CC over the previous three years. Thies and the Mules, though, plan on being there to stay.

“We’re looking for a conference championship, and this is the first step towards that,” said Thies, the Mules’ active career leader with 19 goals. “It’s a great feeling.”
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