Tuesday, August 26, 2003
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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.
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 conferences 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 years 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.
Were a little upset with the ranking of third, senior midfielder Courtney Levine said. Its the first time we've been faced with this situation, so were 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. Armstrongs 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.
Weve got as good a shot as anyone else, Levine said. Weve 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 its their last year and we want to go out with a bang.
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Last updated August 26, 2003