At the same time, she threw herself into her rehab, a grueling process that saw her undergo physical therapy three or four times a week. It was a slow progression for her, as she worked to regain the speed and explosiveness that makes her the scorer she is.
Finally, after a year, she felt like herself again. She went through the fall and made her delayed college debut on Feb. 15, 2020, starting and scoring three goals in a 16-14 win over Temple. She had six goals and two assists in the first five games of the year, the fifth of which was a loss at Stony Brook, whose stadium is less than four miles from her home. The entire team had eaten at the Mulham house the night before the game. When it ended, there was the traditional postgame tailgate.
“I was so excited for my sophomore year,” she says. “I felt so ready. Things were starting to go well. I was playing well in practice. I was proving myself. The game at Stony Brook didn’t go our way, but we were really motivated for the next week.”
“And then, boom.”
She doesn’t need to finish the thought. It’s obvious. Mulham’s sophomore season, and everyone’s season everywhere, ended on a dime, due to the Covid pandemic.
“I never in a million years would have guessed that the season would end there when we were at Stony Brook,” she says. “It was so shocking.”
Just like that, her lacrosse career was halted, five games in. By the middle of the week, everything was shut down. By the following weekend, she was back home, this time for good.
Everyone spent the rest of the spring semester at home. What would the next year bring? Nobody knew. Mulham and her eight classmates talked it through. Should they stay enrolled? Should they withdraw to preserve their Princeton eligibility.
“It was such a hard decision,” Mulham says. “We had to make the decision with limited information. We had no idea what the next year would look like Would it be remote? Would there be a season? There were so many unknowns, and we had to make the decision quickly. We were all together in Delaware that summer, my original class. We started to talk about a gap year. Would we regret it? We had no idea what the future was going to look like. The decision was an individual one for everyone. For me, I was going to be a junior, and I had played in five games as a Tiger. It wasn’t enough for me. I’d been dreaming of the moment, and I knew I’d regret it if I cut it short.”
In the end, four members of her class — Lucie Gildehaus, Gaby Hamburger, Annie Price and Tara Shecter — stayed enrolled, while the other five — Mulham, Shannon Berry, Maria Pansini, Shea Smith and Lillian Stout — withdrew.
There would be no 2021 lacrosse season. When 2022 rolled around, everyone was back on campus, and there was a senior class of 10 players. Mulham was now a junior.
She started out as a reserve on attack, scoring 11 goals in the first nine games of the year. Then she went off, scoring five against Maryland and Penn, adding 24 goals in the final 10 games and finishing her season with 35 goals and 13 assists. Princeton swept through the league at 7-0 and then won the Ivy tournament and an opening-round NCAA game against UMass before falling to Syracuse in Round 2.
After that? It was a day of wild emotions.