Freshmen Lead Field Hockey to First CC Win

Friday, September 30, 2011

Cross country

Heather Porrini has never considered herself much of a goal scorer.

The freshman for the Muhlenberg field hockey team said she is more of a defensive-minded player and would be more likely to block a shot than put it in the cage.

But luckily for the Mules, she found her inner sharpshooter and also kept that defensive mindset against Dickinson. Porrini scored twice and recorded a key defensive save late to help Muhlenberg pick up its first Centennial Conference win of the season, 4-3 over the Red Devils.

Devon Barber
Barber’s goal, the second of her career, was also her second in the past two games.
Click here for highlight video of the win.

“This feels so great,” said Porrini, who scored four goals during her entire senior season in high school. “I was so excited when the first one went in, and then when the second one went in I couldn’t really believe it.”

Dickinson controlled play out of the gate and struck first 21 minutes in. But that goal appeared to awaken the Mules.

After earning a penalty corner in the 27th minute, they worked the ball around to Porrini. She fired a shot right at the Red Devil keeper, who saved it right back to her. She struck the rebound into the right side of the cage to even the score.

A little more than three minutes later, Muhlenberg (3-6, 1-3) earned another a penalty corner and called up almost the exact same play.

The insertion went to freshman Kayleigh Thies at the top of the circle. She faked a shot to draw the defense to the middle and then passed off to Porrini, who was waiting on the wing. She buried the pass into the bottom of the cage to make it 2-1, but the Mules were not finished.

With the first-half clock winding down, Muhlenberg's defense turned away a Dickinson run and pushed the ball up the field. Sophomore Erin Cummings fired off a pass from outside the circle on the right side, drawing the Red Devil keeper out of the cage. The ball rolled right to Thies, who was alone in front. She one-timed the shot into the open cage to make it 3-1 with just two seconds left in the half.

Kristen Dornenburg
Dornenburg turned away 10 Dickinson shots. It was her fourth double-digit save game of the season.

The goal was Thies’ team-high fifth of the season. Eight of the Mules’ 12 goals this season have been scored by freshmen.

“We’ve been playing so much with the upperclassmen that I don’t even feel like a freshman anymore,” Porrini said. “I think we’re fitting in and working really well together. I feel like our confidence keeps growing every game, and that’s what happened tonight.”

The Mules added to their lead five minutes into the second half when they took advantage of another penalty corner.

Junior Devon Barber delivered the insertion to Porrini, who touched a pass off to Thies. She ripped a shot toward the left post, and Barber redirected it into the cage to make it 4-1.

But the Red Devils (3-6, 0-4) wasted little time getting back into the game. They scored less than two minutes later and added a third goal pull within one. Then they appeared poised to tie the game on a penalty corner with less than 12 minutes to play.

Porrini blocked Dickinson’s first shot off the insertion and went down after a taking a stick to the leg. With the ball still alive, junior Kristen Dornenburg charged out of the cage to try to clear the ball.

She made the save, but the ball deflected to a Red Devil on the left side, who took a shot. Porrini, who had gotten up, ran toward the front of the cage and made a lunging defensive save to preserve the lead.

Muhlenberg only allowed one shot the rest of the way and held on for its second straight win.

But this win felt even more satisfying, Porrini said, because it came against a CC foe. The Mules have already surpassed their win total from last year, and with eight games remaining, the freshman said she is looking to add quite a few more before the season is done.

“We really wanted a conference win,” Porrini said. “We were throwing it all out there trying to score no matter what. When they scored first, we felt like we could come back and knew we had to keep fighting.

“This was a really good win and feels great. If we keep working hard and play the way we did tonight, I think we can keep on winning.”
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