Women's Soccer Swarms Swarthmore to Improve Playoff Chances

Wednesday, October 17, 2012
 

Field hockey Men’s soccer, volleyball

“Swarming Swarthmore” was the theme of the night for the Muhlenberg women’s soccer team in its important 2-0 shutout of the regionally ranked Garnet.

The win put the Mules (7-6-2, 5-2-1) into sole possession of third place, ahead of Swarthmore (9-5, 5-3) in the Centennial Conference with two league games remaining in the regular season.

Natalie Wizel
Wizel's goal was her fourth of the season and gave her the team lead in points with 10.
Just 10 minutes into the game, junior Stephanie Tramutola had a key stop that prevented the Garnet from taking a 1-0 lead. When freshman goalie Francesca Cobuzzi came out of the net to make a save on a cross, a Swarthmore player shot it over her head. Tramutola was waiting in the goal, however, and skillfully booted the ball away to the relief of the Muhlenberg faithful.

“It was a little nerve-wracking,” said senior back Maggie Neary. “I had stepped to the ball and I thought Franny was going to get it. Steph did a really good job filling in her spot and clearing it out. We always know to cover each other.”

That close call was the best opportunity the Garnet had all night, as Muhlenberg’s high-pressure defense continuously prevented the visitors from getting good looks at the goal. The Mules held an 11-8 shot advantage and allowed just four shots on goal, two of which came in the final eight minutes of play as Swarthmore urgently searched for the back of the net.

“In the back, we are always trying to make sure that we are one touch away. We’ve come across very good forwards, and we know that if we just shut them down and step right up on them so that they can’t turn, we’ll completely change the game,” stated Neary. “We’ve been doing a great job of that all year.”

The tenacious Mule defense, which has shut out its last six CC opponents, also prevented Swarthmore from taking a corner kick.

Junior CJ Graetzer had a “foot” in both Muhlenberg goals, assisting on the first and scoring the second. Her goal came in the 60th minute when she settled the ball well outside the 18-yard box and fired a long, lofted shot off her laces and over the head of the Swarthmore goalie, who is the reigning CC defensive player of the week.

Just over 25 minutes into the first half, Graetzer beat her defenders on the left flank and sent a well-placed cross into the box to senior Natalie Wizel, who lifted a shot into the back left corner of the net.

“CJ did a great job taking each defender one-on-one and then Natalie did a perfect job framing the net and being right there,” said Neary.

Graetzer and Wizel have been responsible for four of Muhlenberg’s last six goals.

With four saves, Cobuzzi recorded her fifth shutout of the season and lowered her CC goals-against average to 0.31.

“I think this was a great confidence booster again,” added Neary. “This game really showed that we’re here and we’re ready to make a push for the playoffs.”
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