News and notes about Muhlenberg athletics
New head coach Bob Macaluso hopes to turn his young
squad (only five upperclassmen out of 24 players) into a Centennial
Conference contender. The only senior on the team, Marc Lezinski (right), is
the ace of the pitching staff and received credit for half of the Mules'
eight wins last year. The school's all-time leader in strikeouts
per nine innings, he enters the season needing 71 whiffs to break the
school career record of 185. Junior centerfielder Chuck Draper hit .358
and drove in 23 runs in 1998 en route to earning second-team All-CC
honors for the second straight year. Junior infielder Chris Moraitis
(.322) received honorable mention.
The softball team has adopted the slogan "Muhlenberg Pride -- There Are No
Limits" for the 1999 season. The Mules are dreaming big, right down to
the ambitious schedule coach Ruth Gibbs has put together. The scheduled
opponents combined to win more than 61 percent of their games last
season, and five of the eight NCAA regional champions are on the slate.
If Muhlenberg is to improve on last season's 16-21 mark, it will
have to get contributions from the five seniors on the squad -- catcher
Elizabeth Billie, first baseman Khara Pappadakis, third baseman Jackie
Vanderstreet, centerfielder Ali Hatola (right) and all-purpose player Shelly
Markowitz -- all of whom have received all-conference honors during
their careers. Billie, an all-region selection, hit .374 with 26 RBI in 1998,
while Hatola is the school's all-time steals leader. Talented first-year
pitchers should help reduce the workload of junior Heather Dreby, who set
a school record with 29 appearances last spring.
The Mules are just two years removed from their shared
Centennial Conference championship of 1997 and hope to return to the top
after a successful fall season that saw them win tournaments at
Gettysburg and Moravian and play close to defending champ Western
Maryland in head-to-head matches. Juniors Matt Skilton (left) and Matt
Deibert have both finished in the top five of the CC Tournament, and
senior Bryan Mullins had the team's best fall stroke average (79.8).
Jeff Tipping also has a talented trio of freshmen, two of whom shot in
the 70s in the fall.
Head coach Laurie Kerr engineered a big turnaround for field hockey in
the fall and hopes to have similar success with the lacrosse team. It
will help that the Mules return their top four scorers from last year,
including seniors Katie Kenny (right) and Allyson Crooks, who rank third and
10th, respectively, on the all-time scoring list. Kenny scored 55 points,
the second-best total in school history last year. Sophomore Miruna Lovin
(40 points) and junior Shannon Lowther (26) round out the returning
scorers. If the young defense can step up its play, Muhlenberg should
find enjoy its first season playing on AstroTurf.
Muhlenberg has improved its win total each of the last two years,
finishing with a 7-4 record in 1998, and should continue its upward climb
if senior Jon Mandelbaum, a former all-conference selection, can avoid
the injuries that limited him to three matches last spring. He
will join sophomores Robby Richman (14-7-1) and Adam Evans (13-4), both
all-conference picks as rookies, and senior Jared Shafer (left), the Mules'
active career leader with 34 wins, to give coach Stacy Rowley a solid top
of the lineup. Richman reached the semifinals of the prestigious Rolex
East Regional Tournament in the fall.
The players on Linda Andrews' roster have earned a combined total of only
five letters. But three of them belong to a super trio of sophomores who
helped the Mules win five of their final six matches to wind up at 6-6 in
1998. Stephanie Powers (right) was 8-7 in singles play and reached the
semifinals of the Centennial Conference Championships, Kerri Waldowski had a
seven-match winning streak, and Marissa Lutzer posted a team-best 16 wins
in singles and doubles.
Outdoor Track & Field
The track program will begin a new era in 1999, its first season with an
on-campus all-weather track. On April 24, the Mules will host their first
track meet in more than a decade when Moravian travels down Route 22 for
a dual. Coach Lou Di Lullo hopes the new era brings new results at the
Centennial Conference Championships, where Muhlenberg has never finished
higher than fifth. Previous champions such as seniors Stephanie Kaliner
(above; long and triple jump) and Jeff Thiel (shot put), junior Kurt Kunsch
(pole vault) and sophomore Katrina Beck (high jump) will try to lead the
teams to new heights and distances.