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Muhlenberg College

Thursday, November 1, 2007

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Men’s and women’s soccer

Championship Preview
field hockey all dressed up
and ready for playoffs

Field hockey Halloween costumes For the Muhlenberg field hockey team’s traditional Halloween practice on Monday, senior Jillian Duffy dressed up as a hunter. On Saturday, all of her teammates will too.

The Mules are taking aim at their first Centennial Conference championship, and in order to hit their target, they will have to shoot down one, maybe two, teams that are ranked in the top 10 in Division III.

Muhlenberg (12-6) is the third seed for the CC playoffs and will face second-seeded Johns Hopkins (13-4) on Saturday at 1:30 at Ursinus in the second semifinal. The first semi matches fourth-ranked Ursinus (16-2), the defending CC and NCAA champion, against Franklin & Marshall (12-6), a 2-1 winner at Gettysburg in Wednesday’s first-round game.

The semifinal winners meet Sunday at 1:00 in the conference title game.

The Mules are making their second straight appearance in the CC playoffs; last year they defeated Gettysburg in the first round for
Jillian Duffy
Out of costume and in uniform, Duffy is tied for third on the team with seven goals.
their first postseason win since 1992. Johns Hopkins owns four CC championships, the most recent coming in 2003. The Blue Jays have won 10 of the last 12 meetings with Muhlenberg, including a playoff victory in 2000.

This season, the Mules and Blue Jays both won their first six CC games before squaring off with first place on the line on October 13. Johns Hopkins, then ranked seventh in Division III and now eighth, scored two goals in the last eight minutes to turn a 2-1 lead into a 4-1 victory.

“We definitely didn’t play as well as we should have, and we’re excited to get another chance,” said Duffy. “Their stick-to-stick passing was very good, so we need to step in one second sooner and cut off those passes.”

The first loss to Hopkins began a string of three consecutive CC setbacks to nationally ranked teams that not only dropped the Mules in the standings, but also made their four seniors realize that their career clocks were ticking.

“We were all excited when we were 6-0,” recalled Duffy. “But as soon as we started having a few losses, that’s when we really saw the ending coming sooner than we wanted. We would do anything to play again on Sunday.”

But before getting to the serious business of preparing for their playoff game, the Muhlenberg players took a day to renew their annual Halloween celebration. Among the other seniors, All-CC midfielder Lauren Rutt dressed up as a pilot, leading scorer Kelly Shetron as a boxer and All-CC back Nikki Rhoads as garbage.

“It’s a fun, calming practice before the playoffs,” said Duffy. “It’s relaxing and helps take the pressure off a little bit.”

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