Women's Lacrosse Holds Off Lebanon Valley for 17-13 Win

Tuesday, March 4, 2014 - page 3

Michelle Certosimo said she was “bummed” watching the tape of last year’s game against Lebanon Valley, a 13-12 loss.

Stephanie Umbach It’s safe to say that when the 2015 Muhlenberg women’s lacrosse team takes a look at this year’s game, there will be no bumming, only smiles and pride.

The Mules got off to a flying start and showed tremendous poise in the second half when their lead was threatened, winning 17-13 for their fifth straight victory dating back to last season.

And it came against a Dutchmen squad that won the ECAC Mid-Atlantic championship last spring and took York, which is ranked in the top 10 in Division III, into overtime in its first game this year.

“Crazy improvement,” said Certosimo, who tallied eight points on five goals and three assists – the same numbers put up by junior Stephanie Umbach. “It was awesome to see.”

It was a crazy ending too, one that didn’t seem likely when Muhlenberg scored the last five goals of the first half to take a 13-7 lead into the break. But Lebanon Valley chipped away, keeping the Mules off the board for the first 18 minutes of the second half.

Certosimo finally broke the drought by converting a pass from Umbach, but the Dutchmen scored the next two goals to cut the margin to one, 14-13, with 8:58 left.

“I was nervous,” admitted Certosimo. “They had all the momentum, but we were still up, and that helped us keep our composure.”

Casey Armstrong So did the work of Umbach (right) on the draws and sophomore Kiersten Mulvey, who saved her best for last, in the cage.

After the goal that brought Lebanon Valley within one, Umbach won the draw – her school-record 15th draw control of the game. Certosimo gave the Mules some breathing room by scoring her third goal of the game at the 8:17 mark.

In the next four minutes, Mulvey made two saves at close range to keep the spread at two. After two more goals by Certosimo provided the final margin, Mulvey stopped a free-position attempt with just under two minutes remaining for the icing on the cake. Muhlenberg cleared the ball and ran out all but the last few seconds to secure the satisfying win that revealed the team’s changing attitude.

The Mules dropped five one-goal games in 2012 before opening last season with the bumming one-goal setback to Lebanon Valley. But they won a one-goal game against Dickinson late last year and, in their second game of the new season, withstood a strong charge by a solid team to come out on top in another close game.

“In the past we lost some games by one goal and we put our heads down,” said Certosimo, who moved into third place on the program’s all-time list with 78 career assists, just 10 shy of the school record. “Now we realize we want to win those games. You can see a lot of difference in our team. We’re not OK accepting a loss.”

Certosimo and Umbach became only the second pair of Mule teammates to record eight points in the same game, and the first since 2006. Sophomore Casey Armstrong (left) netted two goals, and sophomore Brigid Noone and junior Allie Califano each scored her first goal of the season, with Noone adding two assists.

Sophomore Amanda Orlak led the defense with five ground balls, while senior Kaitlyn McCaffrey caused a pair of turnovers.

“It started with Kiersten making crazy saves, and it went up to the defense, through the midfield and up to the attack,” said Certosimo. “It’s really fun as a senior to see everyone working together. That’s when I love the sport.”
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