Muhlenberg College

Allentown, Pa.
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Wednesday, October 19, 2005
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The Muhlenberg men’s soccer game against Swarthmore was played under very different circumstances than originally planned. Instead of kickoff on a Saturday night in front of a large Homecoming crowd, rain forced the game to be postponed to a Wednesday afternoon.

But the Mules found out that change can be good, as they got the result they wanted: a 1-0 win against the last remaining undefeated team in the
Joseph Benner
Benner has career totals of four goals and four assists.
Centennial Conference.

Although the Garnet (10-3-1, 4-1-1) is still in first place, tied with McDaniel, Muhlenberg (9-4, 4-2) moved right back into the hunt for the regular-season title. Gettysburg (3-1-2) also is contending. Saturday shapes up as a big day in the CC race, as Muhlenberg travels to Gettysburg and McDaniel hosts Swarthmore.

In addition to the change of date, the Mules had some changes on the field for their makeup game. Senior Joseph Benner started for the first time since the first game of the season, and freshman Brendan Carroll made his first career start. Both contributed to the lone score of the game.

Ten minutes into the second half, junior Blake Grannell dropped the ball off to Benner, moving up the field from his left back position. Benner played the ball into the box, where Carroll ran over it, allowing senior Christopher King to receive the pass in good scoring position. King tucked the ball inside the far post for his CC-leading eighth goal of the season – just the sixth goal allowed by the Garnet.

From there, it was left to the defense to make the goal stand up. It did, as Swarthmore did not manage a shot on goal the rest of the game. The Garnet’s best chance to score came on a direct kick from just outside the box with 14 minutes to play, but the blast never made it past the wall.

“[The lineup changes] just mixed it up a little and gave us a new feel,” said sophomore Peter Bennett, who made two early saves en route to his fifth shutout. “When you put someone like Joey Benner in there, it adds more experience and gave us an opportunity to explore some things.”

Muhlenberg had a 16-8 advantage in shots on Swarthmore, which came in ranked sixth in the Mid-Atlantic Region, and was kept off the scoreboard only by two diving saves in the first half.

The win, in the Mules’ first home game in three weeks, was their second straight on a weekday, after going more than a month winning only on the weekends.

“It was just a matter of who we were playing and not when we were playing,” said Bennett. “Taking care of business was tops on the agenda, and we got the job done.”

Now Muhlenberg will turn its attention to another trend, that of alternating wins and losses. After winning its first five games, the Mules have seesawed in the last eight.

“We moved the ball really well today, and our forwards worked extremely hard,” said Benner. “As long as we keep doing that, we can get some momentum going into the conference tournament.”

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Last updated October 19, 2005