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Muhlenberg College

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

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Women’s lacrosse season preview

Men’s lacrosse holds on for big win

An 0-6 start last season didn’t deter the Muhlenberg men’s lacrosse team from scheduling five of its first six games in 2010 against teams that received votes in the USILA preseason poll.

The Mules showed why against one of those teams, holding off a late rally to take down Montclair State, the defending Skyline Conference champion, 8-7. The victory was the program’s second defeat of a team that made the NCAA Tournament the previous year.

“It’s a big win,” said junior Tom Brant. “It wasn’t the best way to do it, but we got it done. Now we can get things rolling from here.”

Muhlenberg (1-1) got it done despite being dominated on faceoffs, winning just three of 18, and nearly allowing a four-goal lead to slip away. But as they did against Stevens in the opener, the Mules outshot their opponent by a wide margin, 43-31, and controlled much of the action.

Chase Nadell “We pride ourselves on faceoffs, but we’ve got guys that step up if we don’t win them,” said Brant. “We made it tough for them to get in the box and played well after they won the ball. It didn’t hurt us.”

Muhlenberg’s offense hurt Montclair State (1-1) early, as sophomore Alex Ardolino scored on a feed from classmate Clint Watkins just 2:43 in. Six minutes later Watkins expanded the lead to 2-0 when the Montclair State defense left him a wide-open path to the goal and he converted.

The Red Hawks tied the score on two tough-to-swallow goals, finding the back of the net in the closing seconds of the first quarter and then just 44 seconds into the second. But the Mules tallied the next three, taking a 3-2 lead on a goal by junior Brent Siebold and going up 4-2 with 7.5 seconds left before halftime on a rebound goal by sophomore Chase Nadell (left).

After a great play by freshman Jack Reilly to save a loose ball near midfield, Siebold fired a bullet from near the edge of the box to make it 5-2. Montclair State responded four minutes later, but Brant then scored a rare goal for a long-stick defender, picking up a rebound and burying a shot.

“I had to make up for dropping a great pass by Chase,” said Brant. “Chase took a shot and no one was on me, and I just picked it up and shot it. Sometimes it’s about being lucky, and I was just in the right place at the right time.”

Senior Ari Jacobson found the back of the net to make it 7-3, but the Red Hawks scored just 36 seconds later. With the third quarter winding down they appeared primed to net another last-second goal, but junior Mike Horowitz made a fantastic save just as time expired, keeping it a three-goal game.

“Horowitz is playing his butt off right now,” noted Brant. “He’s just good, and that’s all we can ask.”

Sophomore Corey Aferiat netted an extra-man goal with 13:35 to play, seemingly putting the game out of reach. But Montclair State, as Muhlenberg did in the teams’ game last year, stormed back, scoring twice in the final minute to pull to within one. But it couldn’t get another scoring chance and the Mules held on for the heart-racing win.

“It seems like we always have to make it interesting,” joked Brant. “I’d really love a win where we’re up by seven or eight and just cruise. But we’ve just got to work on being better in the last five minutes when we’re tired.”

In addition to his goal, Brant also had a fantastic day on defense, picking up a game-high seven ground balls and causing four turnovers. Senior Matthew Schroeder had six ground balls, and Horowitz made nine stops.
Click here for box score.
Click here for complete stats.

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