McNally Lights Up Scoreboard in Field Hockey Home Opener

Wednesday, September 11, 2013 - page 2

Bridget McNally couldn’t remember the last time she had done something like this. For the Muhlenberg field hockey team, it must have felt like forever since they played a home game. For both parties, it was a long time coming.

Bridget McNally
Before McNally, who was the last Mule to score five points in a game? Answer at right.
McNally scored the first two goals of her career and added her first assist for good measure as the Mules picked up their first win of the season with a 5-1 decision over King’s in their home opener. For Muhlenberg, which spent over a week playing in Europe this summer and took to the road for its first two regular-season games, it was certainly a case of home sweet home.

“We played a lot better,” said McNally. “I feel very good on this turf; it’s the most comfortable for me, and the most fun to play on.”

McNally certainly looked like she was having fun. The sophomore picked up the first point of her career when she sent in a cross from the right side, which junior Meghan Gill deflected high into the air and into the back of the net to give Muhlenberg a 2-0 lead late in the first half. After the Monarchs answered a goal by Christine Germaske, McNally went to work establishing other milestones.

First, she tipped in a blast from the top of the circle by senior captain Mariah Alston at the post, easily finishing into a wide-open net in the 52nd minute for her first career goal. Just over three minutes later, she was at it again. McNally intercepted a pass around midfield and took off downfield, outracing the King’s pursuit and beating the goalie for her second tally of the night to cap the scoring.

Kayleigh Thies
Thies scored five points in a 5-0 win against Moravian last year.
For someone who played mostly defense in high school, a five-point performance certainly came as a shock. Mother Nature must have agreed, as stunning bolts of lightning lit up the night sky shortly after the final seconds ticked off the clock.

“It’s exciting,” McNally said. “I didn’t expect it, but it was fun.

“I don’t even know if I got two goals in a game in high school, honestly.”

Muhlenberg’s offense struggled mightily in its first two games, scoring just one goal in each. Back on their home turf, the Mules showed how dangerous they can be.

Junior Samantha Swire opened the scoring just over 21 minutes in, tipping in a pass from fellow junior Kayleigh Thies off a penalty corner to stake the Mules to a 1-0 lead. For Thies, the assist was the 12th of her career, placing her in a tie for 10th on the programs all-time list. As Muhlenberg’s attack took off from there, junior goalie Sierra Lenker made sure the Monarchs couldn’t mount a comeback, stopping four shots in her fourth career start.

After a difficult start to the season, McNally and the Mules feel like they’re finally back on track. Every player on the roster saw the field, and Muhlenberg gained valuable momentum heading into Friday’s Centennial Conference opener against McDaniel.

“We had great communication tonight,” McNally said. “We really stepped it up. All of our subs got in, everyone had fresh legs, and we all played really well together. The passing, communicating ... everything came together, and we hadn’t been doing that.”
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