ALLENTOWN, Pa. – The Ursinus College women's lacrosse team nearly came all the way back from a six-goal deficit in the second half of Wednesday's Centennial Conference clash at Muhlenberg, trimming the margin down to one just past the midway point of the period before the Mules' defense held firm and relegated the Bears to a hard-fought 14-12 defeat.
The senior class kept Ursinus in contention the whole way, having a hand in all but one of the dozen goals. Kaci McNeave paired two goals with four assists, Emily DiGiorgio scored four times, and Bridget Sherry had a goal and an assist in a typically prolific all-around effort for the Bears (3-12, 2-6), who trailed 12-6 at halftime but closed to within 13-12 with 13:10 left. Muhlenberg, however, kept the visitors off the board from there and gained some separation with a goal just shy of the 10-minute mark.
Freshman Reilly Morgan netted her first career hat trick for the Bears, kicking off the scoring on a feed from McNeave with 26:38 to play in the first half.
After Muhlenberg pulled even at 2-2, DiGiorgio scored back-to-back goals in a span of just 23 seconds – one on a free-position attempt and the other on a pass from Sherry – to stake Ursinus to a 4-2 lead.
The Mules reeled off a stretch of five straight goals to go ahead 9-4, and extended their lead to six at the break. But the Bears came out on fire after intermission, scoring twice in 18 seconds to cut right into the hosts' advantage. Morgan polished off an assist from McNeave, and freshman Jill Verrelle's free-position strike came right after.
McNeave scored unassisted at the 22-minute mark before Muhlenberg broke up the run, but a goal by Sherry preceded another quick-strike double from DiGiorgio and Morgan, who tickled the twine just 41 seconds apart to make it 13-12 with 13:10 left on the clock.
The Mules went back up by two with 10:05 to go, and neither side was able to dent the scoreboard from there.
Gabriella Crivelli finished with five goals and an assist and added nine draw controls for Muhlenberg, which held an 18-10 advantage in that category – including 14-5 in the first half. Amanda Tullo added three goals and an assist and Morgan Weiss caused five turnovers.
Sherry led the Bears with five draws, four ground balls, and two caused turnovers. Senior Courtney Cortese scored a first-half goal and added two draw controls, while senior Kaitlyn France made six saves.
Ursinus wraps up the regular season Saturday against No. 22 Dickinson, before which the team will honor its seven seniors on their final collegiate game.