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Muhlenberg College

Saturday, September 26, 2009

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Football, women’s soccer

Fun continues for men’s soccer

In pregame introductions on Saturday night, some mispronunciations of last names led to many on the Muhlenberg men’s soccer team jokingly cheering for Matt “Cessoni” and Adison “Weasloh.”

Considering they’ve now won four straight games – all on the road
Tom Reilly
Reilly sends off a spray of water as he wins this head ball.
and all by shutout – you can’t blame the Mules for having so much fun.

Muhlenberg defeated Gettysburg 1-0 on a goal by sophomore Cody Antonini with just over seven minutes remaining to win a hard-fought battle in the rain and improve to 2-0 in the Centennial Conference.

Junior Matt Cecconi sent a free kick into the box that was headed by junior Eric Williams to Antonini, who fired a left-footed shot off a defender and into the net. Antonini’s game winner was his eighth goal of the season, already more than any other Mule had all of last season.

“With a player like Cody, with seven minutes left you’re wondering if he’s going to do it for us, and he did,” said Cecconi. “You can’t ask for any more from a teammate.”

Antonini’s goal came after nearly 83 minutes of physical soccer, which the Mules often controlled. In the first half Muhlenberg had numerous scoring opportunities, including a header by Adison Weseloh that went over Gettysburg’s goalkeeper’s hands but was headed out by a defender.

Junior Tom Reilly was denied on a similar play just two minutes later, and Weseloh and Cecconi nearly broke through on shots that were turned away by defenders.

In the final fifteen minutes of the half the Bullets began firing, but two spectacular defensive plays by the Mules kept the score even. In the 33rd minute a header off a free kick went over junior goalkeeper Jason Daniels and appeared to be going in, but freshman Kyle Plifka made a sprint toward the net and headed the ball over the bar to preserve the tie.

“A freshman making a play like that in a tied conference game on the road – what more can you ask for?” said Cecconi.

Five minutes later Daniels made a remarkable save, diving to his right to stop a blast from the 18. Though it was Daniels’ only save, he consistently intercepted Bullet crosses and came up big when he had to in recording his second shutout of the season.

The Mules took back control of the game out of the break and kept the pressure on before Antonini finally broke through. Muhlenberg outshot Gettysburg 23-10 for the game and enjoyed a 6-3 advantage in corners.

The win keeps the Mules tied for the conference lead as they prepare for important games next week against Dickinson (7-1, 0-2 CC) and Johns Hopkins (8-2, 1-1 CC), both of whom are nationally ranked.

“This was a huge win,” said Cecconi. “We have a tough stretch of games coming up, and staying undefeated means a lot of the pressure’s off. But we feel like we’re right at the top of the conference.”

Over that tough stretch, expect the Mules to have just as much fun as they did on Saturday.

“We’ve got to stay serious, but it comes down to having fun,” said Cecconi. “All 35 of us are best friends. That camaraderie makes winning that much easier.”
Click here for box score.

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