Muhlenberg College

Allentown, Pa.
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Saturday, October 25, 2003
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Men’s Soccer Clinches Top Seed; Women Close In
Volleyball Stuns F&M; Field Hockey Wins
Soccer Teams Win on Road

• Men’s Soccer: Muhlenberg 1, Gettysburg 0. Sophomore James Henshaw scored the lone goal of the game in the 69th minute as Muhlenberg clinched a share of the Centennial Conference regular-season championship.

The Mules (13-4, 7-0) have a two-game lead over Johns Hopkins with two games to play. Since they won the head-to-head meeting, 3-1, the Mules will be the top seed for the CC playoffs even in the case of a tie for first. The CC playoffs begin on Friday, Nov. 7, or Saturday, Nov. 8, with the winner earning an automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament.

Henshaw’s seventh goal of the season came after a Nick Richardson corner kick was headed to him by senior Evan Smallwood. The Muhlenberg defense made the goal stand up, holding the Bullets (9-6, 4-3) to one shot on goal.

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• Women’s Soccer: Muhlenberg 3, Washington 1. Junior Rebecca Armstrong scored three first-half goals for her second career hat trick to lead the Mules (12-3-1, 8-1) to their eighth straight win.

Muhlenberg remained tied for first in the Centennial Conference with Gettysburg (a 1-0 winner against Haverford) and can clinch the top seed for the playoffs by defeating Ursinus in next Saturday’s regular-season finale.

Armstrong scored all three of her goals in the first 24 minutes to take over the team lead with 10 goals this season. Her first career hat trick also came against Washington, last season. The three goals made Armstrong the fifth player in team history to score 30 goals in a career.

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• Volleyball: Muhlenberg 3, Franklin & Marshall 2; Muhlenberg 3, Washington 0. The Mules scored their biggest win of the season in the opener, toppling playoff-bound Franklin & Marshall (14-10, 7-2), then completed the sweep with a 3-0 win against Washington (4-24, 2-7).

The two wins gave the Mules (10-18, 3-6) double digits in victories for the 13th consecutive season.

Muhlenberg got the early jump on the Diplomats, winning the first two games, 30-26 and 30-27. F&M roared back to win the next two, 31-29 and 30-25, but the Mules – who had lost nine consecutive five-game matches, dating back to 2001 – regrouped to take the finale, 15-12.

The win was Muhlenberg’s first against Franklin & Marshall since 1992.

For the first time in team history, the Mules had two players each record 30 digs in a match, as sophomore Jen Weist totaled 34 digs and classmate Julie Lauro logged a career-high 31. Lauro also had 24 kills and added 13 more in the Washington match.

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• Field Hockey: Muhlenberg 2, Swarthmore 1. Junior Kristen Bruschi scored the tying goal and assisted on the game-winner as the Mules (11-5, 3-4) came back from a 1-0 halftime deficit to snap a three-game losing skid.

Bruschi’s 40th career goal, eight minutes into the second half, knotted the score at 1-1. Eight more minutes into the second half, sophomore Katie Thomas converted a Bruschi pass for her third goal of the season and the game-winner.

The three points gave Bruschi 92 for her career, three away from the school record.

The game was a tale of two halves, as Swarthmore (5-11, 1-7) enjoyed a 10-2 advantage in shots in the first half and Muhlenberg had the same edge in the second.

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Bernardo Makes Triumphant Return

Senior Matt Bernardo, in his first action after missing two-and-a-half games with a shoulder injury, rushed for 135 yards and two first-half touchdowns to lead the Muhlenberg football team to a 14-6 win against previously undefeated Johns Hopkins before a large Family Weekend crowd.

The Mules (4-2, 4-1), who won their fourth straight, can clinch a share of their third straight Centennial Conference championship with a win next week at Gettysburg. The Blue Jays (7-1, 3-1), ranked 13th in the Division III coaches poll, had their 11-game winning streak snapped.

Bernardo ripped off a 47-yard scoring run with 2:21 left in the first quarter, then ran in from 3 yards out with 6:00 on the clock in the second. The latter score capped a Muhlenberg drive that was kept alive when the Blue Jays were flagged for pass interference on a fake field goal.

With the two touchdowns, Bernardo established a new CC record of 62 in a career. He had been tied with Paul Smith of Gettysburg (1996-99) at 60. It was Bernardo’s 19th career 100-yard game.

Hopkins entered with a defense that ranked in the top 10 in Division III in three categories, but it was the Mule defense that dominated the first half. The Blue Jays managed only 46 total yards and three first downs in the first 30 minutes, ending all six of their drives on punts.

The second half was a different story, as Muhlenberg was outgained, 146-66. Until the Mules were running out the clock in the final two minutes, they took only four snaps in Hopkins territory the entire half, none past the 41-yard line. The Blue Jays finally got on the scoreboard on a 52-yard pass play with 7:05 left in the fourth.

Hopkins had two more possessions after the touchdown, but the Mule defense did not allow a first down. The first drive consisted of two incomplete passes wrapped around a Nick Otranto-Daniel McCall sack, and the second featured a sack by Otranto and three incompletions.

For the game, Muhlenberg allowed only 46 rushing yards and 18 completions in 45 attempts.

Senior linebacker Tony Briscella made a team-high 11 tackles and had three quarterback hurries, while junior linebacker Dan Walker had eight stops. Otranto, another senior who has missed time with an injury, recorded 2½ sacks. Sophomore cornerback Michael McCurley intercepted a pass and forced a fumble on a punt return, and junior defensive tackle Michael Della Pella blocked a third-quarter field goal try.

Junior Mike Mrkobrad caught eight passes for 117 yards. It is believed that he is the first player in team history to have a 100-yard rushing game and a 100-yard receiving game.

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Last updated October 25, 2003