The schedule makers set up the Muhlenberg field hockey team for a rollercoaster ride in 2007. But rollercoasters can be great fun, and when all was said and done the Mules enjoyed their ride.
Muhlenberg finished with a record of 12-7 and earned the third seed in the Centennial Conference playoffs. The Mules’ 7-3 record
in the CC was their best in 14 years, and their season was ended by a one-goal loss to a top-10 team in the CC semifinals.
Rutt scored 13 points as a senior and finished her career tied for sixth in team history with 13 assists.
Of the other 10 teams in the CC, four were nationally ranked during the year and six weren’t. Muhlenberg’s conference schedule began with the latter six, and the team took care of business in those games, starting 6-0 in the CC for the first time ever.
Then, predictably, things got a little tougher. Three straight losses to ranked teams followed, and although they had clinched a playoff berth, the Mules entered their regular-season finale against 19th-ranked Gettysburg with the prospect of entering the playoffs 0-4 against the rest of the field.
In the pouring rain on Senior Night, Muhlenberg fell into a 1-0 hole midway through the first half. But senior Kelly Shetron tied the game early in the second half, and senior Lauren Rutt scored the winning goal 57 seconds into overtime, sending the Mules into the playoffs on a high.
In the CC playoffs, Muhlenberg took a 1-0 lead against
eighth-ranked Johns Hopkins when sophomore Kristen Sabia scored off a penalty corner at the end of the first half. The Blue Jays came back, however, securing a 2-1 win on a penalty stroke with 10 minutes left in the game.
The loss was the Mules’ third one-goal setback to a top-15 team. Of the seven losses, six were to teams that were ranked in the top 20 at the time.
Among the notable wins were victories against Oneonta State against Hartwick, giving Muhlenberg a sweep of a weekend trip to New York; the team’s first back-to-back overtime wins since 1997 (against Washington and Drew); and a 10-1 defeat of Bryn Mawr in which the Mules reached double digits in goals for the first time since 1969.
The team was led by its four outstanding seniors. Rutt, Muhlenberg’s field leader from her central midfield position, earned first-team All-CC and second-team
All-South Region honors. Shetron, returning to the Mules after spending the 2006 season studying abroad, led the team with 26 points on nine goals and eight assists.
Rhoads assisted twice in a 4-0 shutout of McDaniel and scored her second career goal in a 3-1 win at Scranton.
Nikki Rhoads was named to the All-CC second team, earning conference honors for the third time in her career after anchoring a defense that allowed more than two goals only three times in 19 games. Jillian Duffy scored 18 points as a senior to finish her career tied for eighth on the program’s all-time list with 62 points.
A pair of sophomores also contributed to a potent offense that racked up 45 goals, second in team history only to the 55 scored by the 1965 squad. Nicole Notarianni scored a team-leading 11 goals, six of which were game winners, and earned All-CC honorable mention. Sabia finished with eight goals.
Junior Michelle Consiglio had a solid season in her first as starting goalie, recording three shutouts and a 1.62 goals-against average. Rhoads and juniors Julie deLaurentis (five defensive saves) and Kristin Garbutt (three defensive saves) made up the back line in front of her.
Starting midfielders Cara Rothacker and Tara Cohn were among seven Mules named to the CC Academic Honor Roll.