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Muhlenberg College

Saturday, March 13, 2010 - page 2

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With heavy rain pouring and wind swirling, the Muhlenberg men’s lacrosse team washed away Washington for the first time in program history in thrilling fashion.

The Mules played their fourth straight one-goal game to open the season, beating the Shoremen in overtime, 7-6, for their first defeat of the perennial powers in eight tries.

“Speaking for the seniors, this was why we came here – to play the best competition in the country,” said co-captain Matthew Schroeder. “Getting this win for this program is huge.”

Ari Jacobson
Jacobson not only scored two goals, he also had a good day in the “X,” winning three faceoffs and forcing Washington to fight for loose balls on every draw.
No play was huger than sophomore Alex Ardolino’s game-winning goal 1:28 into overtime, which came with a little bit of luck. A Washington (2-3, 0-1) defender broke his crosse – in essence putting Muhlenberg man-up – and Ardolino took advantage, taking a pass from classmate Clint Watkins and firing a shot that bounced past the goalie and into the net.

Freshman Ian Jones helped set up the game winner by winning the opening faceoff of the extra session.

“When we won that faceoff I knew we weren’t going to see the ball back in our end,” said Schroeder. “When the shot went in it was the most amazing feeling since I’ve been here.”

The horrendous weather conditions didn’t leave many on the field feeling amazing and made passing difficult. But the Mules (2-2, 1-0) weathered the storm – literally – en route to a tremendous victory.

“Everyone was freezing,” said Schroeder. “We came inside for halftime and our attackmen were shivering. It is spring break, so we would have preferred 60 and sunny. But both teams have to play in it.”

Muhlenberg was the one that won in it, however, making it 1-0 in the Centennial Conference for the first time in school history. And though the weather may get nicer, the schedule doesn’t; the Mules face No. 1 Gettysburg and No. 14 Haverford on the road next, two other schools they have never beaten in CC play.

“It’s always big to start off 1-0,” noted Schroeder. “Facing Gettysburg and Haverford is going to be a challenge. They don’t care that we’re 1-0 and will be coming at us just the same. We need to be ready.”

Muhlenberg was certainly ready out of the gate against Washington, taking a 4-1 lead in the first half. Watkins started the scoring just under five minutes in, but the Shoremen responded two minutes later to tie it.

Corey Aferiat
Aferiat’s three assists were a new career best, and his four points tied a career high.
The Mules then buried three goals in the first five minutes of the second quarter, beginning with a great play by sophomore Corey Aferiat. Fourteen seconds into the period, Aferiat stole the ball from Washington’s goalie, picked up the ground ball and shot it into the open net.

Aferiat then assisted on the next two goals, first setting up senior Ari Jacobson. Then, with Muhlenberg man-up, Aferiat fed freshman Michael Carpetto, whose shot deflected off a defender and in for his first career goal and a 4-1 Mule lead.

But the Shoremen responded, scoring with 2:02 left in the half and then tallying the first two of the third quarter to tie the score at 4-all.

“Against a good team like Washington, you know they’re not going to give up,” commented Schroeder. “We knew they were going to make a run. It was just a matter of staying poised and making plays.”

Sophomore Chase Nadell made a big play with 2:50 left in the third, burying a shot from 25 yards out into the net to reclaim the lead for Muhlenberg. Less than 30 seconds later freshman Doug Rheiner nearly expanded the lead, but his shot deflected off the crossbar.

Washington tied the score at the 10:23 mark of the fourth, but six minutes later Jacobson was the next Mule to make a play, beating the goalie short-side and making it 6-5.

“Ari struggled the first couple of games and he knew it,” said Schroeder. “He’s a senior captain, and your veterans have to step up in conference games. He played huge today.”

But Jacobson’s goal fell just short of standing up, as the Shoremen tied the score with 33.6 seconds left. Washington won the ensuing faceoff, but Muhlenberg’s defense stepped up, forcing an impossible angle shot as time expired.

Jones then won the faceoff to start overtime, and after junior Brent Siebold beat a defender and just missed high, Ardolino converted to make history.

Junior Mike Horowitz was fantastic in goal, making 10 saves between the pipes. Schroeder and Jones led the Mules with four ground balls apiece, and junior Tom Brant had another great game on defense, causing a game-high six turnovers.
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