Muhlenberg College

Allentown, Pa.
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Tuesday, August 26, 2003
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SEASON PREVIEW
WOMEN’S SOCCER TRIES TO TAKE BACK CENTENNIAL CROWN
Sure, they finished another impressive year 9-1 in the Centennial Conference and took home their third straight regular-season title. Yes, they scored five times as many goals as their CC opponents.
Katrina Custance
Custance has started 59 of the Mules’ 63 games the last three years. Muhlenberg has shut out its opponent in 29 of those games.
Maybe they did outscore their opponents 26-4 during a nine-game winning streak down the stretch of the CC season, but there was still something missing for the Muhlenberg College women’s soccer team in 2002.

Thanks to a double-overtime loss to Gettysburg in the CC semifinals, the Mules missed out on a chance to “three-peat” as CC champs and the conference’s representative at the NCAA Tournament. Muhlenberg looks ready to try and get the CC title back this year. The team will also look to improve on a 4-5 non-conference record in the regular season, beginning this weekend at the Kean Invitational.

With last year’s season-ending loss and a relatively low CC preseason ranking for a team that has lost only two conference games in three seasons, the Mules have plenty of motivation.

“We’re a little upset with the ranking of third,” senior midfielder Courtney Levine said. “It’s the first time we've been faced with this situation, so we’re back with a vengeance.”

In her ninth season coaching the Mules, Leslie Benintend will have plenty of options with eight returning starters, seven other letterwinners and a host of freshmen on the 2003 roster.

Leading the charge for the Mules will be the top scoring duo in the conference. Senior Dawn Iberer already holds the school record for career goals and ranks fourth all-time among CC players. She led the team in goals (17) for the third year in a row and finished second in the conference during 2002. The other half of the Mules’ star tandem is fellow All-CC first team selection, junior Rebecca Armstrong. Armstrong’s 11 goals were the third-highest total in the league last season.

Feeding the forwards and netting a few goals herself is Levine, who led the team with seven assists and scored five goals a season ago. The rest of the midfield is in good hands too. Seniors Jennifer Gitto and Dena Simons and junior Katie Macomber headline an experienced corps of midfielders.

Seniors Katrina Custance and Monica Jones anchor the back line. Custance is coming off her second straight All-CC season, and Jones joins Iberer and Levine as the Mules' captains in 2003. A preseason ankle injury has Jones sidelined, but she hopes to be back in October. Junior Maureen McLaughlin should pick up the slack in Jones’ absence.

The one position where the Mules lack experience is goalkeeper. The starting job is up for grabs and could go to senior Jackie Gerard, junior Stacey Spector or even a freshman. Benintend will have some other choices to make as well. She has a very deep squad, full of players able to contribute and help get Muhlenberg back to the NCAA Tournament.

If you ask the Mules, the CC title is well within their reach.

“We’ve got as good a shot as anyone else,” Levine said. “We’ve got a lot of talent and a lot of heart.”

“Attitudes are real positive and I think that makes a big difference,” said Jones. “The seniors realize it’s their last year and we want to go out with a bang.”


Questions or comments? Send mail to falk@muhlenberg.edu
Last updated August 26, 2003