Muhlenberg College

Allentown, Pa.
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Friday, October 31, 2003
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It’s Halloween, and it’s a little scary to think that November starts tomorrow and the fall seasons are about to come to a close. But that means it’s championship season, and four Muhlenberg teams will be competing for Centennial Conference titles tomorrow.


For the Muhlenberg football team, the ghost of Gettysburg has nothing to do with medics dressed in Civil War uniforms. Instead, it is the haunting memory of Paul Smith rushing for 390 yards and scoring six touchdowns in a 42-28 loss at the Battlefield in 1999.

The Mules have exorcised those demons, shutting out the Bullets by an identical 41-0 score in each of the three games since. Last week, senior Matt Bernardo broke Smith’s Centennial Conference record of 60 career touchdowns.

Muhlenberg has a chance to win a share of its third straight CC championship when it travels to Gettysburg for its final CC game of the season on Saturday. The contest will be broadcast on WMUH 91.7 FM and on the Web. Coverage begins with the Mules Kickoff pregame show at 12:30.

Even if the Mules win, they will need help to get back to the NCAA Tournament. That help would have to come in the form of a McDaniel loss, either tomorrow to Franklin & Marshall or on Nov. 15 to Johns Hopkins.

The Bullets (5-2, 2-1), who have clinched their first non-losing season since 1995, also have their sights on the CC title. If Gettysburg wins its final three games, it will enjoy a share of its first championship since 1985.

The game matches one of the best rushing offenses in Division III against one of the best rushing defenses. Gettysburg is averaging 246.3 yards per game on the ground (21st in Division III) and has four of the CC’s top 10 rushing leaders. Muhlenberg is 21st against the run, allowing 95.3 yards per game, and opponents are averaging just 1.6 yards per carry the last five games.

Cross Country to Host Championships; Women’s Soccer Seeks Top Seed

• Cross Country: The young women and men running through the woods in Center Valley tomorrow will not be filming a new horror movie; they will be competing for the Centennial Conference Championships.

Muhlenberg is the host institution for the CC Championships, which will be held on the campus of DeSales University. It is the first time the Mules have hosted a conference cross country meet since 1961. The women’s race is scheduled for 1:00, with the men’s competition slated for 2:00.

Complete results will be posted here around 4:00.

Three-time defending champion Dickinson and Haverford figure to battle it out for the women’s title; only 10 points separated the two schools last year. Dickinson is currently ranked 14th in Division III.

Muhlenberg, which slipped to eighth place in 2002, will look to finish in the top five for the first time since 1997. Junior Jenna Belisonzi is ranked sixth in the CC coaches poll, and sophomore Karen Mount, who placed 10th at the CC meet last year, is 12th.

Haverford is the overwhelming favorite to capture its 11th straight men’s CC title. The Fords are ranked seventh in Division III and occupy nine spots in the CC top 20.

Muhlenberg finished an all-time best second place in 2002, just 11 points behind Haverford. Although the Mules are without three of their top five runners from that team, they do have senior Rob Uniszkiewicz (fifth last year) and sophomore Alexander Hotz (12th last year, currently ranked fifth) back.

• Women’s Soccer: Muhlenberg hosts Ursinus in its regular-season finale on Saturday at 1:00. If the Mules win, they will clinch a share of their fourth consecutive CC regular-season championship and earn the right to host the CC playoffs next weekend.

Muhlenberg (12-3-2, 8-1) is unbeaten in its last nine games and has won 23 consecutive CC regular-season matches. The Mules have an incredible 57-7-2 (.879) record in the months of October and November since 1997.

Muhlenberg has won all seven previous meetings with the Bears, all by shutout, but this is a much-improved Ursinus team. The Bears (10-4-3, 5-3-1) have set a school record for wins and need a win tomorrow to clinch a playoff berth.

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Last updated October 31, 2003