Strong Second Half Pushes Women's Lacrosse Past Wellesley

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Women’s tennis, men’s lacrosse, softball

Michelle Certosimo
Certosimo beats Wellesley’s goalie for one of her three goals. She got close to three school single-game records, finishing one shy of the draw control mark with nine and two short of both the assist and point records with six and nine, respectively.
For the Muhlenberg women’s lacrosse team, goals are kind of like Lay’s potato chips. The Mules can’t have just one; they need to score a lot of goals at a time to be satisfied.

They got their fill against Wellesley, scoring two goals less than 25 seconds apart three different times and using an 8-0 run to turn a two-goal deficit less than five minutes into the second half into a 20-13 win.

The victory capped a perfect 4-0 non-conference slate for Muhlenberg, the fifth time in the past seven seasons the Mules have gone unscathed outside the Centennial Conference.

While the Mules (4-1) like to be greedy when it comes to hogging most of the goals in a game, a lot of their success came from the unselfishness of sophomore Michelle Certosimo, who dished out six assists to lead an offense that got points from nine different players.

The game was tight early and tied six different times in the first half. Then Wellesley scored the first three goals out of the break to pull ahead by two. But according to senior Jessica Shegoski, those quick goals just got the Mules fired up, and they responded with an 8-0 run to seize control.

“We knew that if we stuck together and kept playing as a team that we’d be fine,” Shegoski said. “We were determined to not get down. So when they took the lead, we just talked about staying together and pushing through.”

Senior Angela Napoletano started the push with a quick-strike goal from right in front of the net. Then freshman Kayleigh Thies came around from behind the cage and fired a sidearm shot around a Blue defender for her first career goal.

Kelsey Elmer
Elmer ended the day with two goals and three assists to tie her career high with five points.
After Certosimo won the ensuing draw, senior Kelsey Elmer threw a pass from behind the net to Napoletano, who one-timed it to give the Mules the lead for good just 13 seconds later.

Muhlenberg continued its offensive onslaught, scoring five more goals, two from Certosimo and one each from Napoletano, Elmer and freshman Stephanie Umbach, to complete the eight-goal run. Elmer and Umbach’s tallies came 24 seconds apart, with Umbach scoring after she checked the ball away from the Wellesley goalie on a clearing attempt.

“Scoring in bunches helps us a lot, especially from a mental aspect,” Shegoski said. “Seeing our offense put two or three quick goals in the back of the net not only gets us pumped up, but I think it really affects the other team as well.”

After the Blue tallied a pair of goals to make things a little more interesting down the stretch, Elmer scored in almost identical fashion to Umbach, checking the keeper’s stick, picking up the ground ball and scoring before she could get back to the cage. Then Napoletano scored her team-high fifth goal of the day 19 seconds later to put the game out of reach.

Junior Molly Davin scored all four of her goals in the first half, while classmate Tiffany Kreider made nine of her career-high 13 saves before the break.

Shegoski said the win was a huge boost for the Mules, who were coming off their first loss of the season. And with a visit to No. 1 Gettysburg on Saturday, she said the team is in a good frame of mind at just the right time.

“We really needed to get a good win like this,” Shegoski said. “We played so well in the first half against F&M, and then kind of fell apart in the second half. But this was a good game to get our confidence back up. And we feel like if we keep playing as a team and keep our intensity up that we can keep on winning.”
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