Muhlenberg vs. Stevens Tech
February 25, 2008
The Game Story:
ALLENTOWN, Pa. (February 25, 2008) – Freshman goalie Dave Decker came up big as he made 16 saves in his first collegiate game in leading the Stevens Institute of Technology men’s lacrosse team to a 7-5 win over Muhlenberg College in the season-opener for both teams on Monday evening in Allentown, Pa. Decker had 10 saves in the first half and added four more in the fourth quarter as the Ducks (1-0) held off a late rally by the Mules (0-1).

Sophomore midfielder Bobby Steinhauser
tallied two goals and three ground balls in the victory. Steinhauser was 5-for-11 in faceoffs for Stevens. Sophomore attack/midfielder Alex Couture added two goals and two ground balls against Muhlenberg. Junior midfielder Alex Heckman finished with two assists.

Junior long-stick midfielder Chris Ford collected a team-high four ground balls for the Ducks. Freshman midfielder Brandon Faubert was 2-of-3 in faceoffs.

The Mules were led by junior attack Andrew Lolley (Bel Air, Md.), who scored three goals. Senior midfielder Mike Brown (Westminster, Md.) contributed two assists. Junior midfielder John DeLuca (Sayville, N.Y.) picked up six ground balls. Sophomore goalkeeper Andrew Bell (Summit, N.J.) took the loss as he surrendered all seven goals. Bell made eight saves in the game.

With his team trailing 1-0 just over five minutes into the contest, Steinhauser scored two goals in the span of 5:15 to give the Ducks their first lead of the night. Junior midfielder Matt Keating and Heckman assisted on the first two goals, respectively.

Stevens added two more goals in the second quarter to build a 4-1 lead at halftime. Junior midfielder Jaeke Donahue collected an unassisted tally for the Ducks’ third goal. Couture gave Stevens a three-goal lead with 2:17 remaining before the break when he slipped a shot past Bell off a feed from Heckman. Couture also scored less than two minutes into the second half to stake the Ducks to a 5-1 lead.

Muhlenberg would not go away though as the Mules scored four of the next five goals. In fact, after back-to-back goals by Lolley, Muhlenberg trailed just 6-5 with 10:45 left in the game.

Clinging to a one-goal lead and with freshman long-stick midfielder Jacob Messimer serving a one-minute penalty for slashing, Stevens got a little breathing room as freshman defender Zach McHugh scored the biggest goal of the game with 5:20 remaining. McHugh’s man-down goal proved to be the final goal of the game as Decker made some key stops in the closing moments.

Muhlenberg out-shot Stevens 31-20, but the Ducks owned a 24-20 edge in ground balls. Each team won seven faceoffs. Stevens converted on 86.4 percent (19-for-22) of its clearing attempts. The Mules were 19-for-20 (95 percent) on clears. Neither squad was able to score a man-up goal as they combined to go 0-for-10. Muhlenberg was 0-for-8 in extra-man opportunities.

The Ducks’ next game will be on Saturday when they host SUNY Cortland at 1:30 p.m. The Red Dragons are currently ranked third in the country in the latest United States Intercollegiate Lacrosse Association Division III Coaches’ Poll. Cortland won the national title in 2006 and lost to Salisbury University in the finals last year.