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Muhlenberg College

Sunday, November 7, 2010

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Football honors

men’s soccer falls in title game

Mike Williams
Williams lines up his shot (left), then celebrates by himself and with teammates.
When Mike Williams blasted a shot off a Swarthmore defender and over the head of the Garnet goalkeeper, Muhlenberg’s bench exploded with excitement.

The senior midfielder had just given the Mules their first lead against the Garnet since 2007 and put Muhlenberg ahead in the 29th minute of the Centennial Conference championship game.

The Mules would hold that lead until they were whistled for a foul in the box with a little more than 15 minutes to play in regulation. Swarthmore converted the ensuing penalty kick to force overtime and then notched the game-winner with 4:20 remaining in the second
Matt Cecconi
Matt Cecconi and the rest of the Mule seniors are playing the waiting game. Muhlenberg was ranked fourth in the region before the tournament behind Messiah, Swarthmore and Drew (which lost in its conference semifinals).
overtime to claim the CC crown with a 2-1 victory.

Williams’ goal — his sixth point of the CC tournament — was his fifth of the season and came off of a Jason Daniels goal kick that was redirected to Williams by Cody Antonini.

It was the second tight contest between the two regionally ranked rivals in as many weeks. Swarthmore handed the Mules (11-2-6) their only other loss of the season in Allentown in late October.

A total of 36 fouls were called and six yellow cards (four for Swarthmore) were handed out in the physical clash.

With the Mules holding the halftime lead, Swarthmore pushed hard to start the second half. But Kyle Plifka and Eric Williams blocked a pair of shots in the 58th minute to keep the Mules ahead.

Despite being outshot 23-11, Muhlenberg stayed in the game thanks in large part to Daniels.

The senior keeper made seven saves for the Mules, including a diving stop on a Swarthmore breakaway
Josh Luginbuhl
Junior Josh Luginbuhl dribbles between two Garnet players in the first half.
that kept the game tied with less than eight minutes to play in regulation. He also made two more spectacular saves, one in each overtime period, to stop would-be goals.

With the clock winding down at the end of the first overtime, the Garnet thought they had won the game with a goal off of a corner kick. But the goal was waved off because it came after time had expired.

It was the third overtime championship game in CC history and Muhlenberg’s first loss in the title game. The Mules won the championship in their previous two finals appearances in 2003 and 2005.

But all is not lost as Muhlenberg still has a good chance of continuing its season. The Mules will learn their fate for a potential at-large berth in the NCAA Tournament during the tournament selection show at 2 p.m. on Monday.
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