Field Hockey Drops Playoff Game to Haverford

Wednesday, November 6, 2013
 

In the Centennial Conference playoffs for the first time in six years, the Muhlenberg field hockey team went toe to toe with a postseason power like it had been there before. Despite another all-out effort, the Mules were bested by a perennial contender, dropping a 3-1 decision at Haverford in a tight first-round rematch of an overtime thriller won by the Fords just four days ago.

Emily Boyle
Boyle scored three goals (the first three of her career) in the last four games of the season.
With the loss, Muhlenberg’s historic season came to an end, while the fourth-seeded Fords advanced to tournament host and top seed Franklin & Marshall in the semifinals on Saturday. The Mules, however, made sure the final step of their long-awaited journey to the postseason was a worthwhile experience.

After watching Haverford take a 1-0 lead after the halftime horn had sounded (the Fords earned a penalty corner before the clock wound down and converted an untimed sequence), Muhlenberg (8-10) refused to go down without a fight against a program that had made the CC semifinals each of the last four seasons, including the championship game a year ago.

The Mules took control of the game right after intermission, peppering the Haverford defense with five shots in the first five minutes of the second half. Their offensive surge paid dividends in the 52nd minute, when freshman Emily Boyle found an equalizer on an impressive play. The Fords (11-7) attempted a pass back toward midfield, but the ball eluded the intended recipient. Boyle took advantage of the miscue, racing to recover the loose ball and beating the Haverford keeper one on one with a powerful shot to pull the Mules into a 1-1 tie.

Dayna Hovern Despite playing a person down, the Fords broke the stalemate just two minutes later and added an insurance tally in the 60th minute. The Mules earned four corners down the stretch, but were unable to cut into the deficit as Haverford held on.

Junior goalie Sierra Lenker made five saves for the Mules, while freshman Claudia Theriault recorded a defensive save, reacting instantly to clear a Haverford shot ticketed for the back of the net off the line 25 minutes into the game.

Though the final result wasn’t what they had hoped for, the Mules had no reason to hang their heads after walking off the field for the last time this season. After being picked to finish tied for ninth in the 11-team CC, Muhlenberg outperformed expectations to secure its first playoff berth since 2007. After the game, the Mule coaching staff thanked seniors Mariah Alston, Ashley DeAngelis, Dayna Hovern (right) and Erin Cummings for leading a team that won only two games in 2010 all the way to the playoffs three years later. After their first taste of the playoffs, they certainly left the program better than they found it.
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