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Muhlenberg College

Saturday, October 31, 2009

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Football, volleyball, field hockey, cross country

HALLOWEEN FULL OF TREATS FOR MEN’S SOCCER

Women’s Soccer Also Clinches Homefield in Another Rainy Win

Just as the Muhlenberg women’s soccer team took the field for warm-ups, the sky opened up and it began pouring.

The rain let up just before game time and stayed light the rest of the game, but it was only fitting that the Mules had to enjoy their homefield-clinching victory in the rain.

“We’ve played our last five games in the rain, and it’s been working out for us,” said sophomore Michele Toher. “We have to play that much harder in the rain because of how much the ball skips.”

Muhlenberg (12-5, 9-1) knocked off Gettysburg 2-1 on Senior Day to earn the right to host the Centennial Conference playoffs and give its seniors at least one more chance to play on Varsity Field.

“We wanted to make sure our seniors had another home game,” said Toher. “They are huge contributors and we’re going to miss them next year.”

Kasey Hacker
Senior Kasey Hacker battles for a loose ball against Gettysburg. Hacker and the rest of the senior class are 44-22-7 (.651) all-time at Muhlenberg.
It was one of those seniors who made the play that set up the Mules’ first goal in the 9th minute. Kimberly Hacker won a ball near Gettysburg’s goal line and sent a cross from the right side that skipped through to freshman Alyssa Meola, who banged it in for her first career goal.

Nearly 10 minutes later, Meola attempted to return the favor to Hacker, finding her streaking down the right side. Hacker’s shot from the top of the box was stopped, but sophomore Meghan O’Grady buried the rebound in the upper right corner for her team-leading eighth goal of the season.

Gettysburg (9-7-1, 4-5-1) fought back, cutting the deficit in half with a goal in the 35th minute. The Bullets kept the ball in the Mules’ end much of the second half, nearly tying it up on a shot that hit the right post midway through the period. But Muhlenberg kept Gettysburg off the board to hang on for the win.

“Our defense works so hard,” said Toher. “We are always talking to each other and yelling at each other to make sure we keep up the pressure.”

Toher made three saves in the victory, two of which came on plays in which she came out to challenge wide-open Bullet forwards.

No. 13 Johns Hopkins also won, keeping pace with Muhlenberg atop the CC standings. But by virtue of their 2-0 win at Hopkins, the Mules earned the right to host the playoffs.

“We worked so hard the whole year to be able to host,” said Toher. “It’s an unbelievable feeling.”

Now the Mules just need to hope for rain next weekend.
Click here box score.

Playing its regular season finale on Halloween, there were plenty of treats for the Muhlenberg men’s soccer team. A victory, a celebration of the seniors, visiting parents on Family Weekend and – oh yeah – clinching homefield in the Centennial Conference playoffs.

The Mules (11-3-2, 7-1-1) defeated Ursinus 1-0 to win the CC regular season title and bring the CC Tournament back to Allentown for the first time since 2003.

“We’re really excited to be able to host the tourney,” said junior Tom Reilly. “We have a great home crowd and there are a lot of really great teams in the conference.”

Junior Matt Cecconi scored the game’s lone goal in the 34th minute, dribbling between two defenders down the right side and ripping a shot from outside the 18 into the bottom left corner of the net. The goal was Cecconi’s first of the season and the second of his career.

“We usually don’t count on our defenders to score, but he came up with one today,” said Reilly. “It was a great goal, and luckily it was all we needed.”

Josh Luginbuhl
Sophomore Josh Luginbuhl fights for the ball against Ursinus.
Cecconi’s goal ensured that the Mules’ six seniors – Mike Gehrmann, Samuel Hayden, Nick Jones, Eric Miller, Johan Steiner and Adison Weseloh – will play at least one more game on Varsity Field.

“A lot of people didn’t think we’d be this good this year, but we’re first in the conference in large part because of the seniors,” said Reilly. “They all really stepped up for us this year.”

Neither side could muster much offense in the early going, as no shots were recorded in the game’s first 22 minutes. Cecconi’s goal came on the Mules’ fourth shot of the game, and Jones narrowly missed a goal of his own less than two minutes later when he blasted a low shot just wide.

“It was kind of an ugly game, but great teams have to grind out those wins,” said Reilly.

Muhlenberg kept working to build its lead in the second half, but its attack was stalled by a red card in 63rd minute. The Mule defense buckled down from there, allowing Ursinus (3-11-2, 0-8-1) just one shot, which came with just over a minute to play, while down a man.

“We had to pick and choose our attacks once we went down a man,” said Reilly. “We wanted to hold and possess the ball and make them work for it. For the most part we did a good job of that.”

That good job means the Mules have a week to prepare for hosting the playoffs. Halloween will be longer over by then, but they’ll be hoping there are still some treats in store for this season.
Click here for box score.

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