Penikis Nets Game Winner in Waning Seconds as Women's Lacrosse Edges Muhlenberg, 15-14
SWARTHMORE, Pa. - In an absolute must-win game for the Swarthmore College women's lacrosse team, junior Annalise Penikis would not be denied in the final minutes of play, scoring three goals in the final 2:39 of regulation, including the unassisted game-winner with :02 seconds left to play to give the Garnet (9-4, 3-3) a 15-14 victory over Muhlenberg on Wednesday afternoon.
The junior All-America candidate finished the game with five goals and three assists. Senior Marie Mutryn added three goals and one assist and sophomore Corinne Sommi was close behind with two goals and one assist. Senior Annelise Mowry also had two goals and one assist and junior Beth Martin, sophomore Lucy Whitacre, and junior Nicole Vanchieri each scored one goal.
For the Mules (4-6, 0-6), senior Angela Napolitano had a six-goal performance to lead the attack. Junior Molly Davin added four goals, sophomore Michelle Certosimo scored two goals, and junior Alex Bellini and freshman Stephanie Umbach both scored one goal a piece.
Both halves would see back and forth play, with neither team able to gain a clear advantage. In the first half, the Mules struck first with a goal from Certosimo in the third minute of play. Vanchieri answered back four seconds later with a goal off of a free position attempt.
Less than a minute later, Certosimo struck again and the Mules would go on their largest (and only) run of the entire game. Davin scored twice in the span of ten seconds to put the Mules ahead 4-1 and she was followed by a Napolitano goal off of a free position attempt to put the Mules ahead by far.
That would not last long and the Garnet was able to come up with a three-goal answer. The senior duo of Mowry and Mutryn combined for a goal in the sixth minute and Martin scored unassisted in the tenth minute. Sommi capped off the run in the 13th minute with a little help from Mowry that would leave Swarthmore trailing by one (5-4).
Play slowed down a bit in the remaining minutes of the half, and both teams would score one more each to end the half with Muhlenberg leading the Garnet by one (7-6).
The intensity picked up in he second half, with the teams combining for six yellow cards. The Garnet opened the half with a bang, with Mowry scoring just 14 seconds in, and the Mules promptly responded with a goal less than 30 seconds later to once again take the lead (8-7).
Three minutes into the half, the duo of Mutryn and Sommi combined for a goal, but was followed by a Muhlenberg goal just thirty seconds later to again go down by one (9-8).
A few minutes later, Penikis would score unassisted only to see Muhlenberg score two more goals to make the game 11-9 in favor of the Mules with thirteen minutes of play remaining in the game.
Penikis would be at it again when she assisted a Mutryn goal to chip away at the Mules' lead, but once again they struck back less than a minute later, scoring two goals in less than 40 seconds to go ahead 13-10. But the Garnet wouldn't give up and things turned the corner in the 48th minute.
Mutryn was able to score another and six minutes later, Whitacre would come through with a crucial goal on a free position attempt to make the score 13-12 in favor of Muhlenberg.
Penikis scored with 2:39 left in the contest to tie the game, but Napolitano was on her heels, scoring a goal a little under the two minute mark to put the Mules ahead 14-13.
But it was Penikis to the rescue in minutes, adding two unassisted goals, one with less than a minute and a half left to play and the other in the final two seconds of the game to win the game 15-14.
Garnet goalie sophomore Michelle Ammerman finished the game with eight saves and Muhlenberg goalie Tiffany Krelder finished the game with nine saves.
Thanks to its crucial victory, Swat remains in the hunt for a Centennial Conference playoff spot. That quest continues on Saturday, April 14, when the Garnet host Dickinson College. Action is slated for 3:00 p.m. at Clothier Field, with Senior Day ceremonies taking place prior to the start of the game.