Second-Half Surge Pushes Women's Lacrosse Past Eastern

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

People normally flock to Hilton Head, S.C., for rest, relaxation and easy living. But for the Muhlenberg women’s lacrosse team, its Spring Break game against Eastern on the South Carolina coast was anything but easy or relaxing.

In a game featuring plenty of fouls and shoves, the Mules broke open a tie game by scoring five straight second-half goals to grab a 13-10 win and move to 2-0 for the fourth straight season.

Becky Ritter
Senior Becky Ritter forced a career-high four turnovers. She entered the game with five total in her career.
“They were a really aggressive team,” senior Angela Napoletano said of the Eagles. “There were fouls left and right; it was a really rough game. They put up a really good fight, but we stepped up when we needed to in the second half.”

The Eagles (0-2) struck first, and the two teams went back-and-forth for the first 30 minutes. Muhlenberg (2-0) led by one at the break, but Eastern tied it less than five minutes into the second half.

That’s when the Mule offense took control by scoring four goals in the span of a little more than two minutes. Freshman Stephanie Umbach and Napoletano scored back-to-back free-position goals at the 14:57 and 13:29 marks.

Stephanie Umbach
In addition to her second-half goal, Umbach also caused a team-high five turnovers.
Sophomore Ally Shaffer scored off a feed from classmate Michelle Certosimo just 23 seconds later, and Napoletano struck again with 12:44 left to put Muhlenberg up, 12-8.

Napoletano added a final insurance goal - her career-high sixth of the game - with 4:54 left before Eastern score twice in the final four minutes. She also led the Mules with five ground balls and a career-high four draw controls, which she attributed to extra-aggressive play stemming from the physicality of the game.

“The game was so frustrating because I kept getting pushed around,” she said. “There was a point I had to take myself off the field because I was so angry. And I just tried to take that anger and use it in a positive way. I just kept going and tried to do whatever it took to get the ball in the back of the net.”

Certosimo had her second straight solid game, scoring two goals and dishing out two assists. She has scored four points in each of the first two games of her Mule career. Shaffer also scored twice for the first multiple-goal game of her career.

After cruising in the season opener, Napoletano said it was good for the Mules to face, and pass, a tougher test against an Eagle squad that advanced to Middle Atlantic Conference playoffs last season. And with it being Muhlenberg’s lone game during Spring Break, she said the entire squad was determined to not let it put a damper on the rest of the trip.

“There were some things that weren’t working in the first half, so we had to make some changes,” she said. “They’re a really good team, and we did a good job of doing what we had to do to get the win. This is our only game during break, and there’s no way we were going to lose it.”
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