Royer's Milestone Sparks Men's Soccer to First Win

Saturday, August 31, 2013
 

Volleyball Cross country, women’s soccer

The way he saw it, Chris Royer had gone far too long sporting an impressive dark moustache that belied his blond hair. So, the senior forward shaved it almost immediately after the Muhlenberg men’s soccer team photo was taken.

“I was doing that for the picture, to lighten the mood a little bit,” Royer said after the Mules picked up their first win of the season with a 2-0 decision over Neumann. “I’m a goofball off the field, but I like to stay serious on the field. “I had to get it out of there, though. It bothered me just as much as it probably bothered everyone else.”

Chris Royer
Royer recorded two assists last season for his only previous career points.
There was something else bothering Royer, however. Netting his first career goal wasn’t a challenge as easily solved, but it surely felt just as liberating when he did.

“It feels great,” said Royer, who deposited a rebound off a sizzling header by Brendan McIntyre with just under four minutes to play in the first half, giving the Mules a lead they never relinquished. “It’s been three long years; to finally get that one out of the way makes the rest a lot easier. I feel like I can go out and play now that I finally got that one off my back.”

Junior forward Joey Roberts scored with just over 17 minutes remaining to make it 2-0, and a suffocating defense that allowed the Knights just two shots on goal did the rest. Sophomore goalie Ellison Heil stopped both of those attempts to record his first career shutout.

In a game that appeared destined to enter halftime locked in a scoreless tie, Royer turned it on its head with one swing of his right foot. Senior midfielder Jeremy Katz drew a foul near the corner flag, mobilizing a promising set piece. Junior back Bryan Attanasio sent in a cross from the right side, and McIntyre put a powerful header on target. The Neumann keeper made a diving stop, but Royer came flying in for the rebound and deposited it into the lower right corner of the net to open the scoring and give McIntyre the first assist of his career.

“We got the set piece, and we know that we have to focus on that this year,” Royer explained. “Brendan got a good head on the ball, the keeper knocked it down and I was there to put it away.”

Joe Roberts
Roberts lets fly on his goal (left), then celebrates with freshman Jack Dusing (9).
Roberts doubled the advantage in the 73rd minute, with some help from his newly clean-shaven teammate. Royer attacked on the right flank and played a ball into the box, which found Roberts all alone after a series of deflections. The junior knew just what to do with the stroke of good fortune, sending a right-footed blast past a stunned Neumann goalie for his third career goal.

Though the final score may not indicate it, the Mules dominated play throughout. They outshot the Knights, 17-6, hit the crossbar twice, and only had a potential third goal kept out of the net by an incredible defensive sequence by the Knights. Still, a convincing win over the preseason Colonial States Athletic Conference favorite was just what the doctor ordered for a weary squad that lost a hard-fought battle with nationally ranked Rutgers-Camden just 24 hours prior.

Already sporting the makings of some new facial hair, the only question now is how long Royer will go before shaving again. Until the next goal, perhaps?

“You know, I’m not sure,” said Royer with a smile. “That’s going to have to be a game-time decision.”
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