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Muhlenberg College

Monday, November 5, 2007

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men’s soccer receives ncaa bid

The Muhlenberg College men’s soccer team received an at-large bid to the NCAA Division III Championships.

The Mules (12-4) will play Virginia Wesleyan (16-3) in a first-round match on Saturday, November 10 at Salisbury. The winner of Saturday’s match will go on to face the winner of the game between Salisbury (15-4-1) and Old Westbury (12-3-1) on Sunday.

Muhlenberg, one of four Centennial Conference teams selected for the national tournament, ended the regular NCAA soccer season third in the NCAA regional rankings. The Mules’ four losses were all by one goal, three to other teams in the NCAAs (Johns Hopkins twice and Franklin & Marshall once). Muhlenberg also owns wins against NCAA invitees DeSales and Dickinson.

The Mules tied Johns Hopkins and Franklin & Marshall for the CC regular-season title and were defeated in the semifinals of the CC playoffs by Johns Hopkins, 2-1. The Blue Jays went on to win the championship with a 4-1 victory over Gettysburg.

Virginia Wesleyan won the regular-season title in the Old Dominion Athletic Conference, but lost to Roanoke in the tournament semifinals. The Marlins were ranked 23rd in Division III after getting off to a 9-0 start and, like the Mules, did not lose a game by more than one goal, falling twice to ODAC tournament champion Roanoke. They defeated another NCAA Tournament team in Wheaton (Mass.).

The Mules have one of the top defenses in Division III, with 10 shutouts and only nine goals allowed in 16 matches. Senior goalie Peter Bennett and senior back Jonathan Kliewer were both first-team All-CC selections. Sophomore Eric Miller leads the offense with six goals.

Virginia Wesleyan, ranked fourth in the South Region, has outscored its opponents, 52-14, and is led by sophomore Brandon Massie, who has scored 41 points on 16 goals and nine assists.

Muhlenberg is in the NCAA Tournament for the 13th time in its history and the third time in the last five years. The Mules are 6-11-3 all-time in NCAA play, reaching the national semifinals in 1995. They have not won an NCAA game since 1997, although they advanced to the second round in a shootout in 2003.

Virginia Wesleyan is in the NCAAs for the third year in a row and the 14th time since 1990. The Marlins are 6-13 in the NCAA Tournament.

The two teams have played only once previously, in 1996.

Click here for the tournament bracket.

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