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Muhlenberg College

Saturday, April 25, 2009

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lolley pops last shot;
men’s lacrosse wins finale

Women’s Lacrosse Eliminated in Semis

The Muhlenberg women’s lacrosse team had its best season ever come to an end with an 18-8 loss to fourth-ranked Gettysburg in the semifinals of the Centennial Conference playoffs.

The Bullets (14-2) advance to the final to meet host Franklin & Marshall, which eked past Dickinson, 14-12. The Mules finish up at 10-4, setting a school record for fewest losses in a season. Three of their four setbacks were to teams ranked in the top five in Division III.

Muhlenberg fell behind 8-1 but began a comeback effort late in the first half. Back-to-back goals by freshman Angela Napoletano and junior Amanda McGovern, 48 seconds part, made it 8-3. Senior Ruth Morrongiello and sophomore Danielle Rosen scored in the first 3:26 of the second half, cutting the deficit to three.

But as it did in the regular-season meeting, Gettysburg pulled away in the second half, going on an 8-0 run to extend its lead to 16-5.

With the game already decided, only one question remained, and it was answered with 7:14 left when senior Sara Hiller scored her first goal of the game. Hiller, who added another score 38 seconds later, finished her career by scoring at least one goal in 47 consecutive games.

Morrongiello, also playing her last game, recorded four draw controls, and fellow senior Marguerite Farrell closed out with four ground balls and three caused turnovers.
Click here for box score.
Click here for complete stats.

You couldn’t have scripted it much better.

Two seniors, Andrew Lolley and Nick Fletcher, teamed up for the winning goal with 8.9 seconds left in overtime on
An Ursinus player sits on the turf in disbelief as the Mules celebrate the winning goal.
Senior Day as the Muhlenberg men’s lacrosse team ended its season on a high note with an 8-7 win against Ursinus.

The Mules (5-8, 4-4) had to come back twice, first from a four-goal second-quarter deficit and then from a one-goal deficit in the closing seconds of regulation. All four seniors who appeared in the game came up with big plays at key moments.

The only thing that would have made the ending sweeter was if it had clinched a playoff spot for Muhlenberg. But McDaniel’s 12-5 win against Dickinson on Friday night eliminated the Mules from playoff contention, even though they tied for third place in the Centennial Conference.

“My goal coming here was to play competitive lacrosse in a tough conference,” said Lolley, whose game-winning goal was the 49th of his career. “I’m so thrilled to leave here with the program ready to go to the next level. There’s a lot of potential in this young group, and this will be a good stepping-stone for next year.”

The happy ending was made possible by a terrible beginning. Ursinus (6-9, 2-6) scored four goals in the first quarter and led 5-1 less than six minutes into the second quarter. A Bear man-up goal with 7:13 left in the third made it 6-3, but the Mules scored the next three goals, with freshman Alex Ardolino netting the tying tally with 8:18 to play.

That made it a true Muhlenberg-Ursinus game. The
video of goals
Click above to see video of the tying and winning goals.
teams both started up varsity programs in 2003, and their games have been incredibly close, with five of the seven decided by a single goal.

The Bears looked like they would send the Mules to their fifth one-goal loss of the season when they scored with 56 seconds remaining in regulation to go up 7-6. Ursinus won the ensuing faceoff and tried to run out the clock, but senior John DeLuca, playing the final game of his extraordinary Muhlenberg athletic career, forced a turnover with 27.4 seconds left to give the Mules one last chance.

Muhlenberg frantically tried to get a shot off, and with time winding down Lolley sent a pass from behind the net to junior Ari Jacobson, whose shot beat the Ursinus goalie with 0.9 seconds showing on the game clock.

“I was thinking, I’m a senior, this is my last chance to make something happen,” said Lolley. “So I lobbed the ball to Ari.”

“Lolley happened to find me with the slowest pass, and it happened to go in,” said Jacobson. “I knew I had to shoot it – 3 seconds, 2 seconds, 1 second, it didn’t matter.”

Senior Dan Dugan won the opening faceoff of overtime, and Fletcher tried to end the game quickly, but his off-balance shot was saved. Ursinus held possession for the next two minutes and took five shots, but they were all well off the mark except for the last one. Junior Andrew Bell, who came into the game in relief in the first quarter and allowed only four goals in more than 52 minutes, stopped a ball at his chest with 1:30 left in overtime to give Muhlenberg possession.

That set the stage for the winning goal, which was set up when Fletcher lost the ball from his stick. After picking it up and circling around his defender, he found a wide-open Lolley on the opposite side of the field. Lolley finished, sending the five Mule seniors (including Cade McCarthy) out with a win.

“They’re a relatively small group, but they did a fantastic job leading the team this year in all aspects,” said Jacobson. “I can only hope that our seniors next year do as good a job.”
Click here for box score.
Click here for complete stats.

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