After paying tribute, women's lacrosse wins fourth straight

News Image The Muhlenberg women's lacrosse team took a moment to honor the Seton Hill team before defeating Widener, 15-11

 Sunday, January 1, 2012 09:58 PM

Before the start of today’s game, members of the Muhlenberg and Widener women’s lacrosse teams joined hands at the midfield circle and had a moment of silence for the Seton Hill women’s lacrosse team, which lost its coach in a tragic bus accident en route to a game at Millersville last Saturday. Several players were also critically injured.

The Mules decorated their shoelaces and bench in crimson and red (Seton Hill's colors) and wrote all the Seton Hill players’ numbers on a heart-shaped balloon.

But out of this tragedy an empowered community of lacrosse programs has arisen, going by the name “onelaxfamily.”

“Girls’ lacrosse is a very close-knit community as it is because there aren’t too many of us. So when we heard about that accident, it hit very close to home,” reflected senior Jill Freda. “We all care about Coach Stuckel a lot because she cares about us a lot, so to ever lose her the way Seton Hill lost their coach would just be miserable.

“We wanted to take a moment to honor her and to honor the players that were hurt because we realize that we could have easily been in that position with the terrible weather that day.”

And while this “onelaxfamily” has united over the Seton Hill tragedy, it is also united by a love of the game and the competition it brings. So after the moment of silence, both teams hit the turf ready to compete, with the Mules coming out on top, 15-11

Muhlenberg (4-1) jumped to a quick 3-0 lead in the first four minutes of action, led by senior Ali Gabriele, who scored 59 seconds in. Widener (2-3) closed to within 5-4 later in the half before senior Molly Davin put two goals away in a minute-and-a-half to push the lead back to three. The second of her goals was a close-range shot off a perfect behind-the-cage pass by junior Michelle Certosimo.


Stephanie Umbach
Umbach scored three of the Mules' first five goals.

The Mules had one more goal in the half, scored by freshman Callie Brown, in between two Widener goals, to put the score at 8-6 at the break.

Muhlenberg opened the second half of play with six consecutive goals, three of them coming from freshman Casey Armstrong, who recorded her first career hat trick and doubled her season goal total in just 6:46. She also had two assists.

“We’ve been working on transition a lot in practice and I think our transition was golden today,” stated Freda.

The Mules had a 15-7 lead with less than 15 minutes to play, but Widener scored four unanswered goals in the final 11:20 to keep things interesting.

“As defense, that run kind of got us going again and brought us back into the game a little bit because before it, the offense had the ball for a lot of the half,” explained Freda. “We were calm though because we’re a pretty solid defense whether we have subs or starters in. Those runs get your blood pumping and get you a little anxious, but we have Tiff[any Kreider] in goal, so we know we’re good to go.”

The senior goalie made eight saves, including four on high-percentage free-position shots by the Pride.

“This was one of Tiff’s best games for sure,” added Freda.

Sophomore Stephanie Umbach scored four goals and helped anchor the defense with four caused turnovers, and Certosimo added three. Senior Alexandra Franck led the team with six ground balls.

The Mules, winners of four in a row, open up Centennial Conference play against No. 8 Franklin & Marshall on Saturday.

“F&M is always a tough team but we’re fired up and we’re ready to go,” said Freda. “Hopefully, we’ll come out with a W on Saturday. We’ve got our heads up and we’re ready to practice hard these next two days.”
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