For the second straight year, the Muhlenberg men’s lacrosse team tied for a berth in the Centennial Conference playoffs only to be left out on tiebreakers.
The Mules once again finished 4-4 in the league (6-7 overall), tied with McDaniel for the fourth and final playoff spot, but missed out by virtue of their loss to the Green Terror earlier in the season.
Despite that bit of unfortunate repetition, there were two big firsts for the program in 2010. Muhlenberg beat Washington for the first time in school history with an overtime win, and then 11 days later toppled Haverford, the eventual CC champion, in eerily similar fashion, knocking off the Fords for the first time since being reinstated as a varsity program in 2003. The Mules’ victory over then No. 13 Haverford was also their first-ever defeat of a nationally ranked team.
Schroeder ended his career fifth all-time at Muhlenberg in ground balls, with 138.
Those wins were part of a first half of the season that never lacked excitement. Muhlenberg’s first four games – and seven of its first eight – were decided by just one goal. The Mules began 2-2 in those one-goal games, dropping the opener to nationally prominent Stevens, 8-7, before beating another nationally prominent foe, eventual Skyline Conference champion Montclair State, by the same score.
Muhlenberg lost a tough one to Marywood, 6-5, before recovering with its 7-6 overtime win over Washington. Sophomore Alex Ardolino scored the game winner against the Shoremen, scoring 1:28 in without ever giving the opposition a chance on offense.
After losing to then top-ranked Gettysburg on the road, the Mules traveled to Haverford, where Ardolino once again scored the game winner in overtime, lifting Muhlenberg to a 10-9 victory. A 9-8 victory over Swarthmore pushed the Mules to 3-1 in the CC, their best start in the league in school history.
But the good vibes didn’t last, as a three-game losing streak began with a heartbreaking triple-overtime loss at Franklin & Marshall in which junior goalie Mike Horowitz made 26 saves, the most by a CC goalie since 2005. Muhlenberg then fell to No. 5 Dickinson, 12-10, and was beaten by McDaniel before snapping the skid with a 17-7 win over local rival Moravian in non-conference action.
Carpetto assisted on the game-winning goal in the final game of his career, the Mules’ 9-3 win at Ursinus. He also scored two goals of his own in the contest.
A non-conference tuneup against No. 15 Rensselaer, Muhlenberg’s fifth game against a team that would go on to the NCAA Tournament, resulted in another loss, but the Mules entered the final day of the regular season still alive in the CC playoff picture. They did their part with a dominating 9-3 win at Ursinus in which they scored the final six goals of the game. But they didn’t get the help they needed and were once again the odd team out of the playoffs.
After the season two Mules received recognition. Senior defenseman Matthew Schroeder and Horowitz both received All-Centennial Conference honorable mention after anchoring a defense that allowed the third-fewest goals among CC teams.
Schroeder led the team with 46 ground balls – the fourth-highest single-season total in program history – and caused 17 turnovers.
Horowitz posted an 8.71 goals-against average and .582 save percentage, numbers that improved to 8.55 and .611 in CC games. He led the league in save percentage and was second in saves per game in conference action.
Jacobson netted at least one goal in nine of the final 10 contests of his career – six of which were multi-goal games.
After Schroeder, the Mules’ five other seniors all made impacts. Ari Jacobson was second on the team with 17 goals, and Al Carpetto had a breakthrough year, scoring six goals after entering the year with two for his career. Ivan Brown (nine caused turnovers) started eight games on defense, and Will Garrity played in 12 as a reserve. Sean Delany started eight games in the midfield and joined Schroeder and Jacobson as a team captain.
Ardolino led Muhlenberg with 19 goals and 23 points, and junior Brent Siebold (15 goals) and sophomore Corey Aferiat (seven goals, nine assists) both had impressive seasons on attack. Freshman Jack Reilly (seven goals) began to emerge late in the season, starting the final five contests.
Sophomore Clint Watkins (13 goals, 29 ground balls) was again the top player in the midfield. Sophomore Chase Nadell (six goals, 15 ground balls) and freshman Michael Carpetto (23 ground balls) shined as defensive midfielders.
Juniors Tom Brant (45 ground balls, team-high 21 caused turnovers) and Andy Curley (25 ground balls) filled out the defensive unit. Freshman Ian Jones was the Mules’ top faceoff specialist, going 32-for-63 (.508, sixth in the CC) in the “X.”