Worth the Wait: Field Hockey Beats Widener After Lightning Delay

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Men’s Tennis

Sierra Lenker admitted to being nervous before her first career start in goal for the Muhlenberg field hockey team. “But the nervous energy usually channels into excitement once the whistle blows,” she said.

Unfortunately, she had to wait a little while for the whistle to blow for the Mules’ home game against Widener, which was delayed an hour by lightning. But it proved to be worth the wait: Lenker played exceptionally and Muhlenberg picked up a satisfying 3-1 win, snapping a three-game skid in which it scored just one goal.

Freshman Kayleigh Thies had a part in all three goals, scoring the first two and assisting junior Devon Barber on the third.

The teams were sent inside just

Kayleigh Thies
Thies' nine points are the most by a Muhlenberg freshman since 2006.
before the game was about to start and, with the 10:00 curfew looming, did not warm up on the field when they were cleared to return. But the Mules warmed up to the action quickly, fending off a pair of early Widener penalty corners and scoring the first goal of the game just 9:31 in. Sophomore Erin Cummings intercepted a Pride free hit and passed to Thies, who was cutting into the circle and put her shot past the goalie.

Although it was the third time this year the Mules (2-6) scored the first goal of the game, it was the first time they added to their 1-0 lead. They did it with a pair of goals 51 seconds apart – their quickest since netting two 31 seconds apart against Widener in 2008.

Senior Jillian Katz, who scored the first of the two goals in that 2008 game, assisted this time, taking a penalty corner and passing to Thies for a blast from the left wing. The second goal also came off a corner, with Thies finding Barber at the left post.

“I’m very excited – it’s something I’ve been waiting for,” said Barber of her first career goal. It was extra special for the midfielder because of the beating she’s been taking in games – she took a ball to the elbow against Drew and one to the face against Haverford, the latter hit forcing her to wear a protective mask.

“It’s a joke on this team that I get hit every time we play or practice, since the Drew game,” she said. “Yesterday was the first practice I didn’t get hit, so maybe that’s a good omen.”

The 3-0 lead helped make life easier for Lenker, who totaled six saves in the game. She stopped a breakaway late in the first half and made some nice saves early in the second to keep Widener (4-3) off the board.

The Pride eventually did score with 27:25 left, but the Mules shut the door after that, holding Widener to one shot in the remaining time.

“The hardest thing to do as a goalie is if they do score, you have to bounce back and not let them score the rest of the game,” said Lenker. “Coach constantly reminds us to have no letdowns and always keep playing our best. I had that voice in my head.”

So how did the freshman feel about her first career start? “I was pretty proud of myself,” she said.

The entire team could beam with pride after beating the Pride, and with last season’s win total matched, the Mules will turn their attention to picking up some Centennial Conference wins.

“This is something we have been working on and working for,” said Barber. “Now we have to carry it on to Dickinson.”
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