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Muhlenberg College

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

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Women’s soccer, field hockey

FIRST-TIME STARTERS LEAD MULES TO WIN

Sophomore Josh Luginbuhl’s first career start for the Muhlenberg men’s soccer team may not have ended exactly how we wanted it to – leaving the game with an ice pack on his head – but it went pretty well while he was in.

Luginbuhl hustled for two shots off of rebounds in the first half that were turned away by the keeper, then assisted on sophomore Cody Antonini’s goal in the 51st minute to lift the Mules (9-3-1, 5-1) to a 1-0 victory over McDaniel at Varsity Field.

Mules Ranked Fifth in Region

The Muhlenberg men’s soccer team is ranked No. 5 in the Mid-Atlantic region in the first regional poll released by the NCAA this season.

Four Centennial Conference teams make up the top six spots in the poll, with Swarthmore, Johns Hopkins and Dickinson joining the Mules. These rankings, and not the national polls, are the ones used to determine seedings for the NCAA Tournament.

The Mules are 1-1-1 against other teams in the poll, having defeated Dickinson, fallen to Johns Hopkins in double overtime and tied Drew. They’ll have a chance to move up when they face Swarthmore next Wednesday. But more may be at stake than just regional rankings – first place in the CC may also be up for grabs.

The rankings, with overall and in-region records through Saturday’s games:
1. Merchant Marine (14-1/14-1)
2. Messiah (12-1/8-1)
3. Swarthmore (13-1/12-1)
4. Johns Hopkins (12-2/10-1)
5. Muhlenberg (8-3-1/8-3-1)
6. Dickinson (9-3-1/8-3-1)
7. Drew (7-3-5/7-2-5)

Freshman Nate Squire also made his first career start, filling in at right back.

“They both played great, especially for their first starts,” said junior Mike Williams. “Luginbuhl was causing havoc in the middle and getting good shots at the goalie, and Squire did a good job defending.”

Senior Eric Miller also had a hand in the game’s lone goal, as he sent a cross from the right side into the box that deflected off a defender and to Luginbuhl. Another defender challenged Luginbuhl for the ball, who tipped it to Antonini for the finish.

Nick Jones
Senior Nick Jones clears a loose ball against McDaniel. Jones and the rest of the back four have helped the Mules record seven shutouts this year.
“Miller played a great ball in and Cody just came in at the right place at the right time,” said Williams.

The goal was Antonini’s 11th of the year, the most by a Mule since 2005.

Muhlenberg possessed the ball for much of the game and had the vast majority of the scoring chances, outshooting McDaniel 14-3. But despite a 9-2 advantage in shots in the first half, the Mules could not find the back of the net.

“We came out a little flat in the beginning and got a little bit frustrated, but we got it together in the second half and took it to them,” said Williams.

The Mules finally broke through on their first shot of the second half and continued firing away while limiting the Green Terror’s chances. Muhlenberg held McDaniel (7-7, 3-3), which entered the game the third-highest scoring team in the Centennial Conference, to just one shot in the second period and none in the final 33 minutes of play.

“Once we get rolling and knocking the ball around like we did in the second half we are tough to beat,” said Williams. “It’s not always pretty getting a win, and sometimes you’ve got to grind it out like we did tonight.”

The win puts the Mules into a three-way tie for first place in the CC with nationally ranked Swarthmore and Johns Hopkins. Muhlenberg will travel to Haverford and Swarthmore next week before returning home for the season finale against Ursinus.
Click here for box score.

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