The Muhlenberg women’s lacrosse team was no one-hit wonder.
After finishing in fifth place to earn their first Centennial Conference playoff berth ever in 2008, the Mules were picked sixth in the 2009 preseason poll. But Muhlenberg
not only returned to the playoffs, it did even better.
Morrongiello set a school record with 10 draw controls in the Drew game. She scored 180 points in her career, good for fifth on the Mules’s all-time list.
The Mules came in third in the CC, earning a bye to the semifinals. Their final record of 10-4 set a school record for fewest losses in a season, and three of the losses – two to Gettysburg and one to Franklin & Marshall – came to CC teams that would go on to the Division III semifinals. For the first time in program history, Muhlenberg received votes in the national Division III poll.
For the fourth year in a row, the Mules went undefeated in non-CC games. They will enter the 2010 season with a 26-game winning streak against non-conference opponents.
Muhlenberg opened the season with high-scoring non-conference wins against Randolph-Macon (18-9), Moravian (20-4) and Kean (20-5), wrapped around a 15-8 loss at sixth-ranked Gettysburg, in which the Mules trailed only 6-5 early in the second half.
After beating a much-improved Haverford team, 11-7, outlasting Drew in overtime, 19-18, and winning
easily at Bryn Mawr, 18-3, Muhlenberg scored two of the biggest wins in its history in a four-day span.
A two-year captain, Farrell ended her career sixth in team history in caused turnovers (59) and seventh in ground balls (130).
On Wednesday, the Mules hosted a Dickinson squad that had been ranked in the top 20 most of the season and had finished third in the CC the last three years. Trailing 8-7 at halftime, Muhlenberg scored the first three goals of the second half to go ahead, 10-8. Dickinson closed to within 11-10 with 16:27 remaining, but the defense pitched a shutout the rest of the way, and the Mules added an insurance goal in the closing minutes to seal a 12-10 victory.
That Saturday, the Mules traveled to Maryland to take on a McDaniel team that beat them twice in the final week of the 2008 season, the second time in a CC playoff game. Playing from behind almost the entire game, Muhlenberg trailed 13-9 before scoring four straight goals in the last 6:42 to force overtime. The Green Terror netted the first goal of overtime, but the Mules scored the next two and held on to win, 15-14.
That put Muhlenberg at 8-1 and with a school-record-tying six-game winning streak. Eventual national champion Franklin & Marshall slowed the momentum with a 19-10 win, and after beating Swarthmore at home the Mules suffered a loss at Ursinus. In the last game of the regular season, Muhlenberg secured its playoff position with a 16-12 home win against Washington.
Gettysburg, which came within one goal of making the Division III championship game, ended the Mules’ terrific season with an 18-8 win in the CC semifinals.
For the first time since 1997, Muhlenberg had two players earn all-region honors, as senior Ruth Morrongiello and junior Amanda McGovern were both second-team picks. Morrongiello ranked eighth in Division III in draw controls per game (4.93), breaking her own school record with 69 draws won on the season, and was fourth on the team in scoring with 41 points.
McGovern led the Mules in scoring with 61 points – the fifth-highest single-season total in team history – on 46 goals and 15 assists. She had hat tricks in nine of the 14 games and also was second on the team in draw controls (38) and fourth in ground balls (30).
Hiller scored nine points, the most by a Muhlenberg player in 2009, in the Kean game, and netted her 100th career goal at Drew.
Morrongiello, McGovern and senior Sara Hiller all made the All-CC second team. Hiller notched 30 goals on only 45 shots and finished her career by scoring at least one goal in 47 consecutive games – one of the longest streaks in Division III history.
Sophomore Danielle Rosen enjoyed a breakthrough year, ranking second on the team with 56 points (45 more than she had as a freshman) on 37 goals and a team-high 19 assists. Juniors Alyssa Bascelli (25 points) and Danielle Scarrone (15), senior Megan Wilson (12) and freshman Angela Napoletano (11) also were key contributors to the offense, which averaged 14.21 goals per game (second in the CC).
Sophomore Lauren DeCarle had an excellent season as a defensive midfielder, tying for second on the team with 15 caused turnovers and ranking third with 23 draw controls.
Sophomore Allisyn Vachon recorded a goals-against average of 11.36 and save percentage of .466, improving from her freshman year (12.23, .446) in both categories. She made big late-game saves in close wins against Drew, Dickinson and McDaniel.
The starting back three consisted of senior Marguerite Farrell (34 ground balls, team-leading 20 caused turnovers) and juniors Ashley Foltiny (team-leading 39 ground balls, 13 caused turnovers) and Katie Ferris (38 ground balls, 15 caused turnovers). Senior Farrin Jay also saw considerable time on defense.