Muhlenberg College

Allentown, Pa.
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Saturday, March 15, 2003
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Men’s Lacrosse Keeps Perfect Record Intact

Freshman Dave Armstrong scored three third-period goals for his third straight hat trick as the Muhlenberg men’s lacrosse team squeaked past Eastern, 4-3, to remain undefeated at 4-0.

The four-game winning streak is the first in program history, but it did not come easily. The Mules, who won their first three games by an average of more than 13 goals, were shut out in the first half and faced their first deficit of the season.

Armstrong finally broke the seal by poking in a rebound with 9:55 left in the third, but the Eagles (0-1) scored less than three minutes later to go back on top, 2-1.

Muhlenberg went ahead to stay by scoring three times in a span of 1:41 late in the quarter. Freshman James Robinson circled around the cage to score his fourth goal of the season with 5:25 on the clock, tying the score again. Armstrong scored the next two goals, the first off a feed from behind the goal by freshman Mike O’Malley.

Eastern scored an extra-man goal with 2:13 left in the fourth to cut the gap to 4-3, and the Mules were flagged for a slashing penalty with 1:33 on the clock. Muhlenberg killed off the extra-man opportunity to hold on for the win.

“We needed a game like this to show us who we are,” said freshman Joe LaBella, who made a career-high nine saves, including five in the second quarter to keep the Mules within one. “We’re not an all-star team; we’re a bunch of freshmen. We have big games coming up and if we come out cocky it’s not going to be helpful.”

The Muhlenberg defense again stood up on a day when it was badly needed. The Mules have allowed only 15 goals in four games and have given up one or fewer goals in 14 of 16 quarters.

Muhlenberg will take its perfect record into next Saturday’s Centennial Conference opener against two-time defending national runner-up Gettysburg. “We definitely didn’t expect to be 4-0,” commented LaBella. “All the hard work that we put in is paying off.”

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Muhlenberg senior Will Elson finished second in the 1,500 meters at the Division III NCAA Indoor Track & Will Elson Field Championships, hosted by DePauw.

Along with the silver medal came a second All-America honor for Elson, who on Friday anchored the distance medley relay team that finished fifth.

Elson shattered his own school record with a time of 3:51.57, which bettered the previous Division III season best and the previous facility record. Mark Miller of Keene State won the event with a time of 3:50.03.

Elson’s second-place finish is the best ever by a Muhlenberg team or athlete at an NCAA championship event. The previous best came in 1995, when the men’s soccer team tied for third.

On the strength of their two All-America performances, the Mules tied for 10th in the final team standings.

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Last updated March 15, 2003