Men's Lacrosse Uses Complete Effort to Win Opener

Wednesday, February 22, 2012
 

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With temperatures reaching the mid 50s, the Muhlenberg men’s lacrosse home opener against Montclair State felt more like a game played in the middle of the season rather than late February.

The Mules must have taken notice as they appeared in mid-season form, using five third-quarter goals,

Jonathan Fritog
Senior Jonathan Fritog tied his career high with three ground balls. He was one of six Mules to pick up at least three.
dominating on the X and never allowing the Red Hawk attack to get going en route to a 9-5 win over a team coming off three straight NCAA Tournament appearances. It’s Muhlenberg’s first season-opening win since 2007.

“We started a little slower than we wanted, but once we got rolling, things started working for us,” said junior Doug Rheiner. “The defense played really well, which makes things easy for us. This is a great win, and we should enjoy it, but we need to keep looking forward.”

Muhlenberg (1-0) struck first when senior Alex Ardolino buried a rebound five minutes in and appeared poised to take a 2-0 lead into the locker room when junior Michael Carpetto scored with 3:44 left in the half. But the Red Hawks got on the board for the first time just 10.1 seconds before the break.

Looking to regain the momentum out of the locker room, the Mules got some help when Montclair State (0-1) was whistled for a pair of penalties at the 11:05 mark.

Forty-nine seconds later, Rheiner cashed in off a feed from senior Jack Reilly. Less than two minutes after that, Rheiner showed he could score at a disadvantage as well, pushing the lead to three on a man-down goal.

Montclair State used their only back-to-back goals of the game to pull within two with 5:34 left in the quarter, but Reilly and Rheiner scored 10 seconds apart to push the lead back to four.

Ian Jones
Jones’ 15 faceoffs won and 11 ground balls are both tied for third in Mule history.
After scoring just twice in the first 30 minutes, the Mules found the net five times in the span of 5:36.

“During halftime, we talked about taking a breath and being more patient,” said Rheiner, who scored three different ways for his first career hat trick. “We knew we had our looks and were open, we just needed to take our time. We did that in the third quarter and started finishing. And when we got the momentum, it carried through the rest of the game.”

The Red Hawks scored in the final minute of the third quarter, but would not get any closer as Ardolino scored with 8:47 to play in regulation to give the Mules more than enough breathing room.

Making his first career start, junior James Fasola made nine saves in goal and limited the Red Hawks to one goal or less in three quarters. Junior Ian Jones controlled the X, winning 15 of 18 faceoffs and almost doubling his career high with 11 ground balls.

The Mules killed all five of their penalties, including two each in the second and third quarters, while converting on both of their man-up opportunities. The Mules held a commanding 40-19 advantage in ground balls and only allowed 14 shots on goal, which junior Ian de Ruiter attributed to a strong group effort.

“The key to our defense is our team defense. We were sliding well, and it wasn’t any one person. If a guy got by, somebody else was there to pick him up,” he said. “We did a really good job of working together out there, and when we got the lead, we were not going to let it up. I couldn’t think of a better way to start the season; hopefully this is just the start.”
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