All things considered, it wasnt a bad year for the Muhlenberg
mens soccer team.
Although the Mules finished with a record of 8-4-4 and were eliminated
from the Centennial Conference playoffs in the first round, they had some
things working against them: they graduated eight seniors from the CC
championship team of 2005; they started their stretch drive with a back
four that included one freshman, two sophomores who hardly played last
year and a senior who hardly played his first three years; and their
starting forwards combined for only three goals all year.
One of only three seniors on the team, Peter Palomaki
helped shore up the Mule defense, starting the last 12 games at center
Muhlenberg scrapped its way to a successful season all the way to its last
game, when it scored with 20 seconds left in regulation to tie Gettysburg,
1-1. It was the third time the Mules came back in the second half for a
1-1 draw, with the other two coming against NCAA Tournament participants
DeSales and Franklin & Marshall. Unfortunately, Muhlenberg fell in the
ninth round of penalty kicks to Gettysburg, ending its season in
The Mules opened up with three straight shutouts wins for the first time
since 1999, earning a national ranking of No. 12 after defeating a Wilkes
team that in turn knocked off Johns Hopkins. Muhlenberg dropped its next
game to Hopkins (which would not lose again until the national
quarterfinals) and teetered through the rest of the year, clinching the
CCs final playoff spot with a 1-1 tie at last-place Ursinus in the
Senior Blake Grannell scored his lone goal of the
season on his birthday in a 4-0 shutout of Moravian.
Sophomore Billy Dalton started a center midfield the entire season
emerged as one of the top rising players in the CC, leading the team with
eight goals, including the game-winner with five seconds left in a 1-0 win
against defending regular-season champion McDaniel. He earned
third-team all-region honors. Junior Jonathan
Kliewer split time between back and midfield and proved to be a
player at either spot.
Junior Peter Bennett had his best season in goal, earning CC
player-of-the-week honors after making nine saves in back-to-back wins
against New Jersey and Gettysburg. Junior Karim Assous received
recognition for his hard work up front.
A young team with only six upperclassmen had several other sophomores make
their first varsity impact, including forwards Steve Tenenzapf and
Carroll, midfielder Greg Leischner and backs A.J.
Barnold, Andrew Brick
and Josh Glueck.