Muhlenberg College

Allentown, Pa.
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Sunday, February 29, 2004 - page 2
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Mules Open Season Monday at Moravian
The Muhlenberg women’s lacrosse team is coming off a fantastic season where it set school records for wins (eight), goals (208) and assists (94) in a season. It hopes to keep improving in the 2004 season, which begins with a game at Moravian on Monday at 3:30.

“Our goal is to break our record from last year,” said senior captain Candice Coffman. “There were a lot of close games last year
Kristen Kastner
Kastner and the Mule defense allowed just one goal in last year’s season-opening win against Moravian. The offense did its part by scoring 20 goals against the Greyhounds.
that could have gone our way. We want to make the playoffs.”

Maintaining the high level of play from last season will not be an easy task with the loss of two senior leaders who were the program’s career leaders in assists, ground balls, caused turnovers and draw controls.

But a talented bunch of Mules is back for 2004 and should be ready to face the higher expectations that come with winning. Five players return who started all 15 of the team’s games a season ago. Another four returners started at least 12. Some of those players will have to step into the holes left by the 2003 seniors.

“We’ve only lost two players,” Coffman said. “They had huge roles and we’re going to miss them a lot, but the freshmen that are coming in are really great on attack, and I think there will be a lot of people who step up and help take over their roles.”

One of the most reliable players on the Mule squad occupies one of the most important spots. Junior Diana Bleakley has started in goal in all but three of Muhlenberg’s games the past two seasons. She ranks third all-time among Mule goalkeepers in goals-against average (11.58).

Bleakley is the last line of a tough defense. Senior captains Kristen Kastner and Giselle Aerni, along with junior Allison Marman were integral parts of a defense that averaged the fewest goals allowed for a Muhlenberg team since 1993.

Coffman has been a staple in the Muhlenberg midfield each of the past three years, starting all but three games in her collegiate career. With Coffman in a more defensive role, sophomores Jessica Geiger and Steph Light will look to continue to improve and help get the Mule attack going.

“We’re a well-rounded team,” said Coffman. “We finished 18th in the country in caused turnovers. We need to keep that up and keep working on our midfield transition.”

Up front, the Mules are young, but gifted. The team ranked 18th in Division III with 13.87 goals per game in 2003. As a freshman, Courtney Tapkas ranked fifth in the country with 4.87 goals per game and set ’Berg records with 73 goals and 84 points. Fellow sophomore Shannon Donohue also had an outstanding rookie campaign with 33 goals and 11 assists. Each player now has a year under her belt and will try to help the Mules put together another brilliant season.

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Last updated February 29, 2004