Muhlenberg College

Allentown, Pa.
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Friday, March 5, 2004 - page 2
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Mules Open with DeSales on Saturday

After a 22-season hiatus, the Muhlenberg men’s lacrosse team returned to varsity action in 2003 and had a successful year, posting a 5-7 record. As the second season of the new program begins, expectations are higher, but so is
Justin Saverine
Saverine picked up a team-high 44 ground balls in 2003. He is one of three juniors on the 2004 roster.
the team’s potential.

Muhlenberg set school records for assists in a season (46), goals in a game (in 21-4 win against SUNY Farmingdale) and longest winning streak (four games) last season, and fell one win short of tying the team record. Most of the team is back and is joined by a freshman class that will make an immediate impact.

“The players have a different mindset,” said sophomore captain and midfielder Justin Hollander, who tied for third on the team with 36 ground balls. “We’ve been working hard in the offseason and are focused on winning this year. We have a new perspective about how the team is capable of playing.”

One challenge of the new season will be an upgraded schedule. After opening the season against DeSales on Saturday at 1:00 at Scotty Wood Stadium, the Mules will hit the road to take on Roanoke, a perennial top-20 team. The schedule also includes non-conference opponents Wesley and Kings Point, both semifinalists in their leagues, and the always-rigorous Centennial Conference slate.

Repeating their perfect non-CC record and challenging for the league playoffs will not be easy, but the Mules now have a year of collegiate experience and are ready to show how much they have improved over the course of the offseason.

Sophomore captain John Westendorf leads the Muhlenberg attack. He tied a school record with seven goals in last year’s season opener against Centenary and led the Mules with 25 goals and 32 points, the fourth-highest season point total in ’Berg history. James Robinson, another of the four Mule captains, ranked third on the team with 14 goals and 18 points.

Returning midfielders Dave Armstrong and Justin Saverine are ready to improve their statistics after a good first year. Armstrong was second in scoring with 16 goals and a team-high 13 assists. He tied the school record for points in a game with eight against King’s and tied for the second-best season assist total. Saverine, a junior captain, was the team’s top faceoff man (87-for165, .527). He and sophomore Kevin Kessler tallied 15 points each from the midfield last year.

Sophomores Eric Strumza and Ryan Long and junior Bradley Lutzer are the top returners for the Mule defense. Strumza and Long started all 12 games in 2003, and Lutzer led the defensive unit with 36 ground balls.

Starting goalkeeper Gavin Crescenzo is one of several freshmen who will see significant minutes from the season’s outset.

With an improved team and a knowledgeable coaching staff in place, the players know what they now must do.

“The coaches put us in a great position to win, but we need to execute on the field,” Saverine said.

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Last updated March 5, 2004