Women's Lacrosse Rolls in Opener

Saturday, March 1, 2014 - page 2

Never mind that the Muhlenberg women’s lacrosse team spent the first day of Spring Break in below-freezing temperatures, or the fact that it had to wait three days to play its season opener. When the Mules finally took the field for the first time, they hardly felt the cold – and certainly didn’t look rusty.

Nora Fisher Muhlenberg started hot and stayed that way, rolling to an 18-2 victory over Gwynedd Mercy in a contest originally scheduled for Wednesday. The Mules’ opener was supposed to be a road trip; instead, because the Griffins’ field was unplayable, they enjoyed the friendly confines of Scotty Wood Stadium, snow banks and all.

“It’s been really hot in here,” senior Rachel Chinman said of the Life Sports Center, where the team has generally taken up residence throughout much of the winter. “It was really nice to actually get back on a big field and get back into it.”

Ten months after finishing last season on a three-game winning streak, the Mules took little time getting back into the swing of things. Junior Stephanie Umbach lit up the scoreboard for the first time just over a minute into the game, and Muhlenberg never looked back. The hosts opened up a 10-goal lead midway through the first half and coasted from there, getting production from a wealth of sources.

Umbach scored three goals for her 16th career hat trick and added an assist, while freshman Stephanie D’Ascoli announced her presence in a big way, producing a hat trick of her own in her Muhlenberg debut.

Kayleigh Thies Senior Michelle Certosimo had a goal and five assists for the Mules, while classmate Ally Shaffer, junior Kayleigh Thies and sophomore Casey Armstrong each netted two goals. Junior Sarah McTamany also found the back of the net.

Muhlenberg had plenty of firsts in winning its opener for the eighth time in the last nine years. Freshmen Nora Fisher (right) had two goals and an assist to go along with three draw controls in her first game, while classmates Amanda Brefach, Morgan Lukaszewicz and Kelsey Nagle (one assist apiece) also recorded the first points of their careers. Fellow rookies Sara Allison (two) and Alex Grossman (one) each made their first career save. Sophomore defender Amanda Orlak closed out the scoring with her first goal, and the tallies for Thies (left) were her first since her freshman season after she sat out last year. Thies also dished out two assists.

“It was nice to get so many people involved,” said Chinman, who scored the second goal of her career just before halftime. “Hopefully it will continue throughout the season.”

Umbach stuffed the stat sheet with two caused turnovers, three ground balls and eight draw controls for the Mules, who were relentless in converting the Griffins’ miscues into easy opportunities at the other end.

“Our transitions were our strongest point,” Chinman said. “Sometimes we would lose the ball in attack, but we usually found a way to get it back and get our transition game going.”

The Mules also turned in a strong defensive performance led by seniors Anna Provax and Kaitlyn McCaffrey, junior Christina Vittorio and Orlak. Sophomore Kiersten Mulvey started in goal and made four saves, giving way to Allison after halftime. Every healthy Muhlenberg player saw action, giving the team valuable early experience.

“I think we stayed pretty sharp, but with more practice we can definitely get better,” Chinman said. “Hopefully we’ll keep getting stronger the more we play.”
Click here for box score.
Click here for complete stats.