Armstrong's Big Day Helps Women's Lacrosse Punch Playoff Ticket

Saturday, April 26, 2014 - page 2

The Muhlenberg women’s lacrosse team wasn’t going to be left out of the Centennial Conference playoffs – at least not on Casey Armstrong’s watch.

Armstrong tied a school record with nine goals, including her team’s first five, to carry the Mules past Ursinus, 16-10, and into the postseason. Armstrong’s big day helped Muhlenberg (10-6, 4-5) erase a halftime deficit and gradually pull away for its third consecutive victory. The Mules finished tied with Dickinson and Haverford for the fifth and final playoff berth, but booked their trip thanks to head–to–head victories over both. The Mules begins their playoff quest Wednesday at fourth-seeded McDaniel.

Kelsey Nagle “We all wanted playoffs so badly, and now that we’re in it’s unbelievable,” Armstrong said. “To be able to say that I was a big part of such an enormous win for us is an unbelievable feeling.”

Muhlenberg clinched its first trip to the CC playoffs since 2009 with a gritty effort in a win-or-go-home scenario. Armstrong almost singlehandedly kept the Mules close in the first half, netting four goals in a row to set off a seesaw stretch that ended with Ursinus clinging to an 8-7 advantage.

After Armstrong’s burst, the teams traded 3-0 runs, with freshman Kelsey Nagle (right) finding the back of the net twice in 33 seconds to make it 7-5 Muhlenberg. But the Bears (8-8, 3-6) scored the final three goals of the period to regain the lead. Then Armstrong took over – with some help from another of the Mules’ offensive dynamos.

Armstrong tallied 24 seconds into the second half, then again about four minutes later to give Muhlenberg a 9-8 lead. After Ursinus equalized, Stephanie Umbach joined the fray.

Umbach scored all three of goals during the Mules’ ensuing stretch of six consecutive goals. Umbach netted the first two, Armstrong repeated the feat, and senior Ally Shaffer followed Umbach’s third with one of her own, giving Muhlenberg a 15-9 lead. Thanks to its defense, which held the Bears scoreless for over 20 minutes, the advantage proved insurmountable as Muhlenberg won at Ursinus for the first time ever.

“Coach has been putting us in different (simulated) situations with different scores,” Armstrong explained. “We try to work off being two goals down or one up or any kind of scenario so we know how to get our mindset right. When we were down, we weren’t panicking; we realized how much time we had and that we weren’t down by much. We settled down and played our game.”

Armstrong’s eruption was the third time in Muhlenberg history that a player scored nine goals – and the first since 2003. The sophomore also had an assist, becoming the fifth different Mule to record 10 points in a single game. Her ninth and final goal, at the 15:23 mark of the second half, was her 100th career point.

Senior Michelle Certosimo dished out five assists, her eighth game of at least five helpers this season. Umbach, meanwhile, extended her streak of hat tricks to 21.

Sophomore Kiersten Mulvey finished with 10 saves, while senior Kaitlyn McCaffrey scooped up four ground balls and added a caused turnover to lead the defense.
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