Muhlenberg College

Allentown, Pa.
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Friday, November 8, 2002
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To say that history is not on the side of the Muhlenberg men’s soccer team for this weekend’s Centennial Conference Championship would be a gross understatement.

The Mules (13-7, 6-3) are the fourth seed in the tournament and travel to Baltimore to take on top-seeded Johns Hopkins (15-2, 9-0) tomorrow at 11 a.m. Saturday’s second semifinal matches second-seeded Franklin & Marshall (8-9, 7-2) against Gettysburg (12-4-2, 6-3). The winners square off Sunday at 1 p.m. for the Conference championship and the right to go to the NCAA Tournament.

Here’s what is working against the Mules: They have never won on the Hopkins turf, and the Blue Jays rarely lose there. Muhlenberg is 0-6 all-time at Homewood Field, including a 1-0, double-overtime loss to Western Maryland in the semifinals of last year’s tournament. Hopkins, meanwhile, is 73-6-3 (.909) at home since 1994.

One of those losses by Hopkins came to Gettysburg in the 2001 CC playoffs. The Bullets went on to win the championship as the fourth seed.

Muhlenberg did not fare well against the other three teams in the field, dropping all three games by a combined score of 10-2. In their other 17 matches, the Mules outscored their opponents, 30-9.

Johns Hopkins, Gettysburg and Muhlenberg have combined to win every CC title in men’s soccer, with the Mules capturing the crown in 1994, 1995 and 1997.

Tom Hartey

One of the six seniors on the Muhlenberg team, midfielder Tom Hartey has scored a pair of goals this season.

Women Have Home-Field Advantage in “Three-peat” Bid

Muhlenberg will try to become the first women’s soccer team in history to win three straight Centennial Conference championships when it hosts the league tournament this weekend.

The Mules (13-6, 9-1), who won the regular-season title, face fourth-seeded Gettysburg (10-6-2, 6-4) on Saturday at 11:30 a.m., followed by a match between second-seeded Franklin & Marshall (13-2-2, 7-1-2) and Johns Hopkins (12-5-2, 7-2-1). The championship game is scheduled for Sunday at 1 p.m.

Muhlenberg is 34-2-2 in its last 38 games against CC opponents, with both losses coming at Johns Hopkins, and has won 22 consecutive home matches against CC foes.

“I don’t think that records mean a whole lot,” said junior sweeper Monica Jones. “I think that each day brings new challenges. We train and prepare for each game with the same intensity that we have had from the beginning.”

After a 4-6 start to the season, the Mules enter the tournament with a nine-game winning streak. They have outscored their opponents, 24-3, during the surge.

“I honestly think that this season has been a little of a learning experience for all of us,” said junior midfielder Courtney Levine, who ranks third on the team in scoring with 17 points. “The past two seasons we have been strong from the beginning, but as you can see in our stats, the first few weeks didn’t go as well as planned. I really think knowing how we should be playing compared to how we were playing made us do a lot of thinking. Once we started having a little confidence in ourselves and our teammates, everything came together and we were playing like we used to.”

Muhlenberg traditionally finishes seasons strong and has an outstanding record of 51-6-1 (.888) in the months of October and November since 1997. The Mules have won a championship each of the last four years, capturing the ECAC Mid-Atlantic title in 1998 and 1999 and the CC crown in 2000 and 2001. Last year, Muhlenberg defeated Franklin & Marshall (2- 0) and Johns Hopkins (1-0) in the first CC Tournament.

“I think that any team we play will give us a great contest,” said senior goalkeeper Kim Laurino. “All three teams in the tournament are quality teams that have given us good competition in our regular-season matches. But I believe that as long as we play like we have been and stay positive no one can beat us. We don’t want to end what’s become a great season as anything less than champions.”

The Mules defeated Gettysburg, 2-0, in the regular-season meeting, but the Bullets have already won one championship on Varsity Field this year: They captured the Kwik Goal/T.G.I.Friday's Classic in early September.

Two individual milestones are within reach for Muhlenberg: Junior Dawn Iberer needs two points to break the school’s all-time scoring record of 108, and eighth-year head coach Leslie Benintend is one win away from 100.

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Last updated November 8, 2002