Muhlenberg College

Allentown, Pa.
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Thursday, November 4, 2004
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Football, Cross Country Teams Ranked

The Muhlenberg football team is receiving votes in two national Division III polls ( and AFCA) and appears in the top 10 in two regional polls.

The Mules are 10th in the NCAA rankings of the South Region, prepared by the same committee that selects teams for the NCAA Tournament:

1. Hardin-Simmons (8-0)
2. Washington & Jefferson (9-0)
3. Trinity (Texas) (7-1)
4. Salisbury (8-0)
5. Mary Hardin-Baylor (7-1)
6. Hampden-Sydney (7-1)
7. Christopher Newport (6-2)
8. Bridgewater (6-2)
9. Thiel (7-2)
10. MUHLENBERG (7-1)

Muhlenberg is eighth in the Lambert Poll, which is conducted by the ECAC and measures the best in eastern college football:

1. Washington & Jefferson (9-0)
2. Delaware Valley (8-0)
3. St. John Fisher (8-1)
4. Rowan (6-2)
5. Trinity (Conn.) (5-1)
6. Ithaca (6-2)
7. Moravian (7-1)
9. Springfield (5-2)
10. New Jersey (6-1)

The Muhlenberg cross country teams are both ranked in the top 10 in the Mideast Region poll of coaches:

1. Dickinson
2. Allegheny
3. Elizabethtown
4. Moravian
5. Haverford
6. Messiah
7. DeSales
8. Gettysburg
8. Swarthmore

1. Haverford
2. Carnegie Mellon
3. Elizabethtown
4. Allegheny
5. Widener
6. Dickinson
7. Salisbury
8. Swarthmore
9. Messiah

The Muhlenberg men’s soccer team will travel to Baltimore to take on Johns Hopkins in a semifinal match of the Centennial Conference playoffs on Friday at 5:00.

The fifth-seeded Mules (9-7-2) advanced with a 1-0 overtime win at
Jose Ramirez
Junior Jose Ramirez scored the Mules’ goal against Johns Hopkins on a wind-blown corner kick.
Franklin & Marshall on Wednesday. Johns Hopkins (16-0) won the CC regular-season title and is the top seed.

The other semifinal pits second-seeded McDaniel (10-5-3) against third-seeded Swarthmore (10-5-2). Should Muhlenberg defeat Hopkins, the winner of the other semifinal would host the championship game, either Saturday night at Swarthmore or Sunday afternoon at McDaniel.

Defeating Hopkins will be a daunting task, for several reasons. The Blue Jays are ranked second in Division III and have won 19 straight matches dating back to their 2-1 loss to Muhlenberg in last year’s CC championship game. They are undefeated in their last 37 matches at Homewood Field, where the Mules have never won in eight tries. They also did not have to play a first-round match.

“It’s going to be tough because Hopkins has had a few extra days of rest,” said senior co-captain Ryan Melchior. “I’m sure our legs will be a little more tired, but the way we’ve been playing it can’t hurt us to get another game in and help us stay on a roll.”

The Mules have won six in a row, outscoring their opponents 20-3 and shutting out their last five CC foes. On their first trip to Baltimore this season, in the CC opener back on Sept. 18, Hopkins scored 29 seconds into overtime for a 2-1 win. Muhlenberg is the only team to take Hopkins into overtime this season, and one of just four to score a goal against the Blue Jays.

“We beat them twice last year, and we took them to overtime this year, so we’re pretty confident,” said Melchior. “Obviously we’d rather be playing on our grass than on their turf, but if we play the way we have been the game could go our way.”

Hopkins has a phenomenal defense that allows a paltry 4.5 shots per game. Offensively, the Blue Jays have yet to score more than three goals in a game, and their last five wins have all been by a single goal. Of their 16 wins, seven are by a 1-0 final.

Oddly enough, Hopkins has never outscored its opponent in a home CC playoff game since the league went to a postseason tournament in 2001. The Blue Jays hosted in 2001 but were defeated by Gettysburg in the semifinals and won both of their 2002 matches (including one against Muhlenberg) on penalty kicks.

“They play quickly and they’re very solid, but their strengths are our strengths too. That’s why I think it’s going to be a great game,” said Melchior.

Click here for the CC championship Web site.

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Last updated November 4, 2004