Women's Lacrosse Rains Down Milestones

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

It might not have looked like the Game of the Century, at least not by the score, but that’s exactly how the Muhlenberg women’s lacrosse team will remember its matchup with FDU-Florham.

Michelle Certosimo
Certosimo needed only three seasons to break the record of 88 set by Taylor Armstrong from 2005 to 2008.
The Mules (3-1) controlled play from the opening draw in cruising to an 18-9 victory in what started out as an ordinary non-conference contest. By the time it was over, the game had attained legendary status thanks to a remarkable confluence of milestones.

During the game, junior Stephanie Umbach matched a career high with seven goals, including the 100th of her career. Senior Michelle Certosimo, meanwhile, handed out six assists to become the program’s all-time leader.

The loudest cheers, though, came after the final buzzer. With her latest victory, head coach Kristen Stuckel became the seventh female coach in College history to reach the 100-win plateau in a single sport.

“It feels so amazing,” Umbach said of the Mules’ unforgettable afternoon. “For one, I love playing with Michelle, and it’s a great day to share something special with her. And I’m so happy for Coach, too. She really deserves it.”

Umbach got the party started early, netting four goals in the first 10:20 to stake Muhlenberg to a 5-1 lead. The fourth, which came on an assist from sophomore Casey Armstrong, made her the 12th player in program history to score 100 goals, and just the seventh to accomplish the feat as a junior.

“It was nice to get it out of the way early,” said Umbach, who said she was aware of the milestone before it was announced because her father had told her how many goals she needed to reach it. “It’s good to know all the hard work pays off. There’s no way I would have been able to do this without my teammates.”

Umbach certainly had plenty of help from her friends in a game that started under a light rain and ended just minutes before a heavy downpour descended. The Mules spent most of the day raining goals, and as usual, Certosimo had a hand in quite a few of them.

Kaitlyn McCaffrey
McCaffrey added three ground balls and two draw controls to her three caused turnovers. Click on the picture for a video in which McCaffrey congratulates Coach Stuckel on her 100th win.
The co-captain became the first player in school history to have at least five assists in back-to-back games, a number Certosimo has reached in three of the Mules’ first four outings. Half of her helpers came in the final six minutes and change, with her record-breaking 89th coming on a goal by Armstrong that ended the scoring with 1:36 to play.

Armstrong turned in the best game of her Mule tenure, setting new career highs with four goals and five assists, with all of the latter coming in the first 17 minutes. Armstrong, who became the eighth Muhlenberg player to record nine points in a game, and the first since Certosimo two years ago, scored three goals in the second half to post her second career hat trick and also added four draw controls and a pair of ground balls.

Muhlenberg did plenty of things well in bouncing back from a 17-10 setback at unbeaten Montclair State. Junior Kayleigh Thies scored three goals for her first hat trick, and senior Ally Shaffer netted a pair for her second multi-goal effort of the season. Freshman Kelsey Nagle scored her first career goal midway through the first half, and classmate Nora Fisher chipped in a goal of her own.

Defensively, sophomore Kiersten Mulvey posted a career-high 10 saves – half on free-position shots – in net, while senior Kaitlyn McCaffrey matched Umbach with a team-best three caused turnovers. Freshman Allison Murnick had a ground ball and a season-high three draw controls.

“We were really able to capitalize on their mistakes, and it was finally nice out, too, so we took advantage of that,” said Umbach, speaking just moments before the oncoming deluge hit Scotty Wood Stadium. “I think we’re really playing well and taking advantage of these games before the conference season starts. We’re feeling good.”

Stuckel’s milestone was just the finishing touch on a special day.

“We play in a very tough conference, and we work really hard,” Umbach said. “Coach never gives up on us, and she always brings the best out of us. I am really happy I was able to be a part of it, and to score my 100th goal in her 100th win.”
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