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Muhlenberg College

Sunday, November 14, 2010

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Cross country, football

Victory oh so sweet for men’s soccer

Josh Luginbuhl
Kyle Plifka grabs Luginbuhl after his goal.
Deadlocked at one, the Muhlenberg and Stevens men's soccer teams appeared headed for penalty kicks when the Mules gained possession off of a Duck yellow card with less than four minutes to play in the second overtime.

Muhlenberg worked the ball up the right sideline and found Danny Way near the 18-yard line. The sophomore forward turned and hit a steaking Josh Luginbuhl down the middle of the box.
video of Luginbuhl's goal
Click above to see video of Luginbuhl's goal

All alone, Luginbuhl one-timed a shot that beat the diving Duck goaltender into the back of the net

The Mule bench stormed the field as players and fans mobbed the junior midfielder. Luginbuhl’s goal brought the game to a sudden finish in the 107th minute and moved the Mules to the “Sweet 16” of the NCAA Tournament.

“Danny held it up and I just made a run and luckily he saw me,” Luginbuhl said. “He played a great ball and I just finished it.

“Whenever you score a goal in overtime, even during the regular season, it’s a big deal. So to score a goal in overtime to go to the ‘Sweet 16’ is just awesome. It feels unbelievable right now.”

Muhlenberg (13-2-6) advances to play Merchant Marine in next week’s third round at a site and time to be determined on Monday.

Cody Antonini
Cody Antonini’s pass from just outside the box to Way set up the game-winner.
While Stevens outshot Muhlenberg 12-2 in the first half, it was the Mules that struck first.

Mike Williams played a beautiful cross to Way, who leaped and headed the ball past the goalkeeper into the upper left corner of the net. Way’s goal, only the fifth allowed by Stevens this season, put the Mules on top, 1-0, with 25:19 to play in the first half.

It was his third goal of the NCAA Tournament and fifth of the postseason. It ties the school record for goals in a single NCAA Tournament, which last occurred when Todd Ervin scored three goals in the 1997 tournament. Two of Ervin's teammates on that squad were on the sidelines Sunday, Mule coach Sean Topping and Stevens coach, and Muhlenberg alum, Tim O'Donohue.

Way also set a school record for points in a one NCAA Tournament (seven) after he registered a point on every goal this weekend.

“It started last week against F&M and this week I felt really good,” Way said. “We had a really good week of practice and I’m just feeling hot right now. We're ready to keep going.”

The Mules were poised to take the lead into halftime, but the Ducks struck suddenly just before the break.

Stevens (15-2-3) scored off of a low cross to tie the game at one with just 34 seconds to play in the first half.

But instead of allowing the late goal to deflate them, the Mules stayed composed during the second half.

It looked as though Muhlenberg might have taken the lead in the 63rd minute when the Duck goalkeeper bobbled the ball after a corner kick and the ball trickled over the line. But the Mules were called for goalie interference, and the goal was waived off.

The two teams traded scoring opportunities but could not pose a serious threat for the remainder of regulation.

That’s when the Mules took over. Muhlenberg outshot the Ducks 6-1 in the two overtime periods and just missed wide left in the first overtime before Luginbuhl put away the game-winner.

Jason Daniels made six saves for the Mules and held a Duck offense that had averaged three goals per Muhlenberg men’s soccer team game during its past six contests to just a single tally on Sunday.

The win extends the season at least another week and puts Muhlenberg in the “Sweet 16” for the first time since 1997. It also broke the Ducks' 34-game home unbeaten streak and gave Stevens its first loss (not counting shootout losses) in the NCAA Tournament since 2005, which according to Luginbuhl feels nothing short of surreal.

“This was the type of game where you just have to keep working and something is going to break eventually. And luckily it broke our way today,” he said. “It hasn’t totally sunk in yet, but it still feels amazing.”
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