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Muhlenberg College

Monday, August 31, 2009

 Summer Stories | August 29 30 31 | September 1
 

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men’s soccer aims for ncaa return

Last spring all six of the 2009 Muhlenberg men’s soccer team’s seniors spent the semester abroad, apart not only from each other but from the entire team.

It was only fitting, then, that the place that brought them all back together after the summer wasn’t home, but rather Germany and Austria, where the team spent 10 days traveling and competing in early August.

“The trip was a really good experience for the whole team and helped
Nick Jones
Jones is part of a back four that held opponents to 0.78 goals per game last season.
rekindle friendships after being apart for so long,” said senior Mike Gehrmann. “By its end it was like we had never been gone.”

Of course, the trip wasn’t just about building chemistry off the field, and Muhlenberg was successful on it as well. After giving up a goal in the first minute of their final game, against Innsbruck’s Tyrol U19 team, the Mules rallied back in the second half and scored the game-winning goal with less than 15 minutes to play.

The Mules expect another comeback of sorts in 2009, as they hope for a return to the NCAA Tournament after missing out last season despite an impressive 12-6-1 record.

The road to a return will not be easy. Muhlenberg opens the season at home against No. 20 Richard Stockton tomorrow night, and then faces three more opponents in the preseason national rankings during the season (Montclair State, Johns Hopkins and Swarthmore).

But the hope is that this year’s squad will be more cohesive than in recent years, buoyed not
Adison Weseloh
Weseloh was second on the Mules in points as a sophomore, then sacrificed his own stats to become a defensive center midfielder as a junior.
only by their experience abroad but also by balance among the classes. The Mules anticipate that their impressive crop of seniors will be complemented by a talented collection of juniors and sophomores and several contributing freshmen to form a team more united than ever.

“We are more of a molded team than in the past,” said Gehrmann. “We’re closely knit, everyone trusts each other and everyone gets the ball.”

Getting the ball up front and providing the offensive punch will be senior Eric Miller, the Mules’ active leading scorer with 24 career points, and junior Tom Reilly, who in his first season as a Mule last year finished second on the team in scoring (6 goals, 3 assists) and earned All-Centennial Conference honorable mention.

The center midfield will be patrolled by a powerful offensive threat in sophomore Cody Antonini (5 goals, 3 assists), also an All-CC honorable mention selection last season, and a defensive stopper in senior Adison Weseloh, a converted forward.

Gehrmann, junior Evan Rubin (2 assists) and junior Mike Williams (1 goal, 1 assist) will provide speed and big-play ability for Muhlenberg on the outside flanks.

In the back will be an experienced group that helped the Mules record eight shutouts and hold opponents to just 15 goals a year ago. Senior Samuel Hayden will start at center back for the fourth straight year, while junior Matthew Cecconi enters his second season starting at right back. Senior Nick Jones and junior Eric Williams will fill out the rest of the back four as they enter the starting lineup for the first time.

The goalkeeper the back four will be protecting is junior Jason Daniels. Though Daniels has appeared in just one game in his Muhlenberg career, he has spent the past two seasons learning from an All-American and an All-CC first teamer.

“Daniels has made a lot of improvements,” said Gehrmann. “He’s become a lot more vocal and the defense really trusts him. I think he’ll do very well.”

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