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Muhlenberg College

Friday, April 24, 2009

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Championship Preview
Women’s lacrosse takes on underdog role

There may not be many people who think the Muhlenberg women’s lacrosse team has a chance against Gettysburg in the first round of the Centennial Conference playoffs, but the members of the team are among them.

The Mules (10-3) take on the Bullets (13-2) in the semifinals of the CC playoffs tomorrow at Franklin & Marshall at 3:00. The first semifinal is between the host Diplomats (15-1) and fourth-seeded Dickinson (11-6), a 19-11 winner over McDaniel in Wednesday’s first-round game.

The semifinal winners meet Sunday for the CC championship and an automatic
Amanda McGovern, Ruth Morrongiello, Sara Hiller
Junior Amanda McGovern and seniors Ruth Morrongiello and Sara Hiller (left to right)were all named to the All-CC second team. McGovern is second in the CC in goals per game, Morrongiello leads the CC and is 12th in Division III in draw controls, and Hiller has scored 28 goals on only 41 shots (a .683 percentage).
bid to the NCAA Championships, and the clear favorites to be in that game are Franklin & Marshall and Gettysburg. Both are ranked in the top five in Division III and have not lost to any CC team except each other since 2004.

“We’re definitely thinking that we’re underdogs, but it not’s like we don’t have a shot,” said senior Megan Wilson. “They’re a very good team. We have to keep it in perspective that they’re college students just like us.”

Gettysburg is ranked fourth in Division III, and its two losses to No. 5 New Jersey (by one goal) and No. 2 Franklin & Marshall. The Bullets won five straight CC titles from 2002 to 2006 and lost in the title game each of the last two years.

By comparison, Muhlenberg is a newcomer. The Mules have never won a playoff game, falling to McDaniel last year in their first taste of the postseason. They earned a bye to the semifinals for the first time by going a program-best 6-3 in the CC in the regular season.

Muhlenberg is winless in 22 all-time games against Gettysburg, but the meeting this year was one of the closest. The Mules trailed by only one goal (6-5) 2:17 into the second half, but the Bullets ran off the next nine goals to pull away and won, 15-8.

“We gave them a run for the money last time,” said Wilson. “We just got into a little lull and it shook us up. Coming off that, it showed us that we can do it.”

The eight goals were the fewest scored all season by Muhlenberg, which is averaging 14.69 goals per game. Gettysburg is sixth in Division III in scoring defense, giving up only 7.21 goals per game.

“They play a zone defense, and not a lot of teams in our conference play that,” noted Wilson. “We’ve been working on that in practice.”

With a win tomorrow, the Mules would tie the school record of 11 victories in a season, set last year, and move to within one game of their first NCAA bid. They would also shake up the Division III women’s lacrosse world.

“As long as we play hard and with heart, we can come out on top,” said Wilson.

For details on live video and stats for the CC playoff games, click here.

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