Women's Lacrosse Starts Season in Style

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Softball preview

The sun was shining, both literally and figuratively, on the Muhlenberg women’s lacrosse team in its opener at Widener. After playing through more than its fair share of rain showers last season, the Mules were greeted by clear skies and mild temperatures.

But for as nice as the weather was, Muhlenberg’s play was even better. The Mules dominated from the start, scoring the first five goals and forcing a running clock for the entire second half en route to a 15-3 win. They have won nine of their last 10 openers, including seven straight.

“We played with a lot of energy and intensity, and that really helped us get off to a good start,” said sophomore Michelle Certosimo. “We’re a very close team, and I think that showed today because we knew where everybody was going to be. The whole team played great, and I’m really proud of everybody.”

Michelle Certosimo
Certosimo needed just four shots to score her three goals. She added an assist to led the team with four points.
Senior Angela Napoletano got Muhlenberg started when she scored on a free-position shot, one of four for the Mules, less than two minutes into the game. She added another goal, along with one from freshman Stephanie Umbach and back-to-back tallies by junior Alex Bellini to put Muhlenberg up 5-0 a little more than five minutes into the game.

Widener finally got on the board, scoring consecutive goals just before the midway point of the half, but the Mules responded by scoring eight straight, including seven in a row to close out the opening period.

Certosimo scored three of those seven goals in less than five minutes to give Muhlenberg a 12-2 lead at the break, which was never threatened in the second half.

While the offense stole most of the attention, the Mule defense did not disappoint either. Muhlenberg limited the Pride to just 14 shots and held an 18-10 advantage in ground balls. But the most impressive defensive debut was at the very back.

Playing in the first lacrosse game of her life, junior goalie Tiffany Kreider looked like a veteran between the pipes. She blocked a free-position shot for her first career save, one of three she stopped on the day.

She finished with nine saves, including three from point-blank range and two on fastbreaks, to draw rave reviews from her teammates.

“She’s just amazing,” Certosimo said of Kreider. “You can’t believe she never played the game before. She’s so aggressive and brings so much energy; she looks like a natural. She played great today, and I think she’s only going to get better.”

Napoletano finished with a hat trick, and senior Kelsey Elmer dished out a career-high three assists.

Umbach added another goal, giving the Mules four players with multiple tallies, and tied junior Alexandra Franck for the team high with three ground balls.

But no one enjoyed the win more than Certosimo, who missed all of last season because of injury. It was the first time in her life that she missed a significant amount of time.

But while she admitted feeling maybe just a touch of nervousness on the way to the game, she said she felt right at home when she stepped onto the turf at Widener.

“It’s amazing; this is the best feeling in the world,” she said. “Missing a whole season makes every practice worthwhile. I was so excited to get back on the field, and to score three goals was just incredible.

“Last season was miserable, because not only did I have to stand on the sidelines for every game, but it was also raining almost every time. So it was like a dream come true to play in the sun, and then getting a really good win made it even better.”
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