ALLENTOWN, Pa. – Muhlenberg's dominance on the draw doomed the Ursinus College women's lacrosse team to a 14-7 loss at the Centennial Conference co-leader on Wednesday, bringing the Bears' playoff hopes down to the final day of the regular season.
Junior Jules Krasutsky, sophomore Franny Liberatoscioli, and freshman Haley O'Malley scored two goals apiece, but the Bears (7-8, 4-4) had no answer for the Mules and their success in the circle. Jordy Bonvino finished with three goals and two assists and racked up 11 draw controls as Muhlenberg (13-2, 7-1) pulled away early in the second half thanks in large part to an 18-5 discrepancy on the draw.
Stephanie D'Ascoli scored four goals and handed out an assist, Amanda Tullo netted a hat trick, and Kelsey Nagle distributed five assists to help the Mules clinch a bye in the upcoming CC Championship.
With the loss, and Washington College's overtime victory at Swarthmore, the Bears trail the Shorewomen and Dickinson by one game in the race for the final two CC playoff berths. Ursinus' Senior Day season finale against the Red Devils now becomes a win-or-go-home scenario – a victory, combined with a Washington College loss at Gettysburg, would give the Bears the number four seed and a home playoff game, and a loss would eliminate them.
Muhlenberg started each half on a 3-0 run, getting goals from Nora Fisher, Bonvini, and Tullo over the first 11:23 of game action to ensure it never trailed. Liberatoscioli potted a goal on a feed from senior Amy Kohout, who had three assists, and O'Malley scored unassisted to pull within 3-2 at the 12:43 mark.
D'Ascoli tallied twice during another 3-0 spurt, one of four for the Mules on the day, to extend the home side's advantage to 6-2 before sophomore Emily DiGiorgio got on the board with 4:32 remaining in the opening half.
Muhlenberg, which was nationally ranked for multiple weeks this season, put its foot down with three unanswered goals in a 29-second blitz early in the second stanza, and Kohout's assist on an O'Malley goal only interrupted another 3-0 burst that stretched the Mules' upper hand to 12-4 midway through the period.
Krasustsky added two goals in a run of three straight for the Bears, but it was too little and too late as Nagle assisted on a pair of Muhlenberg strikes in the final two minutes.
Sara Allison made six saves for the Mules, who owned a 31-17 advantage in shots.
Sophomore Kaitlyn France did her best to stem the Muhlenberg tide, matching a career high with ten saves. Classmate Emily Blaszkow caused two turnovers and picked up three ground balls, and Kohout led Ursinus with two draws in addition to her career high-tying three assists.
The Bears close the regular season at home against Dickinson on Saturday with their postseason fate on the line. Opening draw is slated for 12 p.m.