The year in movies
As the Grinch would say, “Christmas doesn’t come from a store. Maybe Christmas, perhaps, means a little bit more.”
Yeah, like great movies.
As you look back on what’s happened in Muhlenberg athletics over the course of 2008, keep in mind words from your favorite holiday characters:
“Can I refill your eggnog for you? Get you something to eat? Drive you out to the middle of nowhere and leave you for dead?” ~ Clark Griswold, Christmas Vacation
Opponents the Mules “left for dead:”
• The men’s basketball team defeated Marymount 70-49 in the championship game of the 2008 Scotty Wood Tournament to capture its first tournament title since 2005. Earlier in the evening, the women beat William Paterson for their fifth title in six years.
• In one of their two home matches of
the season, Muhlenberg’s wrestlers defeated Scranton 42-9, winning eight of 10 bouts.
• In a doubleheader against Wisconsin Lutheran, the Mule baseball team scored a total of 36 runs, shattering the school record for scoring in a doubleheader (29 against Gettysburg in 1982). In their next game, the Mules defeated Misericordia 23-8, giving Muhlenberg back-to-back 20-run games for just the second time in program history.
• The volleyball team
25-13, 25-16, 25-8, in September. Last season, the
Green Terror finished third in the Centennial Conference.
“Fra-gee-lay. It must be Italian.” ~
Mr. Parker, A Christmas Story
• Ok, it wasn’t Italy, but the men’s lacrosse team spent nine days in England and Ireland and played two lacrosse games in Dublin against the Dublin Lacrosse Club and the Irish National Team, winning both. The overseas trip was the first for the men’s lacrosse team, but other Muhlenberg teams have gone abroad for trips that combine sightseeing, team bonding and competition against foreign teams.
“I never eat December snowflakes. I always wait until January.” ~
Lucy Van Pelt, A Charlie Brown Christmas
were falling on the golf course in October when senior Bill Snow shot a 2-under-par 70 to earn medalist honors
at the Gettysburg Fall Invitational. The score was the
lowest by a Mule since 2001. Snow won by two strokes to
capture his second career tournament.
For the second year in a row, Sara Hiller of the women’s lacrosse team scored at least one goal in every game. She enters her senior season with a school-record streak of 33 consecutive games with a goal.
“If I woke up tomorrow with my head sewn to the carpet I wouldn’t be more surprised than I am now.” ~
Clark Griswold, Christmas Vacation
There were plenty of opportunities to be surprised this athletic year, with some contests going completely against the odds.
• Field hockey defeated sixth-ranked Johns Hopkins 1-0 in overtime. Junior Tara Cohn’s goal 32 seconds
into overtime gave the Mules the fastest OT win on record in Muhlenberg history. It was the team’s first win against a top-10 team since 2003.
• The Mule wrestlers upset 26th-ranked Messiah in February, winning 25-21. The pivotal match came at 165, where senior David Lavin was declared a winner by default over Trent Zempel (ranked seventh in Division III). Zempel was called for an illegal move when he dropped Lavin to the mat on the back of his head.
• The Muhlenberg softball team began the 2008 season with a bang, toppling No. 2 ranked Wartburg, 4-3, at the Rebel Spring Games in Kissimmee, Fla., back in March.
• Baseball defeated Johns Hopkins 8-5 in April. Hopkins came into the game ranked ninth in Division III and had won its first six Centennial Conference games by a combined 82-13 margin. Later in the season, the Blue Jays came within one strike of winning the national championship. The win for the Mules was a highlight of a season that included the first trip to the Centennial Conference playoffs since 2003.
“I want an official Red Ryder Carbine Action 200-shot range model air rifle.” ~
Ralph Parker, A Christmas Story
• Speaking of shot range, Alexandra Chili’s shot range is a zip code. In the Dec. 15 game against Moravian, the freshman women’s basketball player scored 33 points, the most by a Mule player since 1992 and a school record for freshmen. Her nine three-pointers tied the school record.
• And speaking of shots, sophomore Tom Reilly and freshman Renee Dessimone of the men’s and women’s soccer team scored hat tricks on the same day back in August, leading their teams to 4-0 wins. It was the first time in school history that men’s and women’s teams got hat tricks on the same day.
• Kyle Farris’
rifle shot enabled him to finished his
men’s lacrosse career with 101 goals, including a school-record 36 last season.
• Rifles need to be loaded, and senior Taylor Armstrong helped load for women’s lacrosse, setting school
Pitcher Phil Cresta went 8-3 to tie the school record for wins in a season. He set the school record for consecutive scoreless innings (24.2). Cresta earned a spot on the All-Centennial Conference second team in baseball and first team (as a wide receiver) in football.
records for season assists (50) and career assists (88). She ranked fifth in Division III for helpers per game (3.13).
“I took a shower washing every body part with actual soap, including all my major crevices, including in between my toes and in my belly button, which I never did before but sort of enjoyed.” ~
Kevin McCallister, Home Alone
Here are some things the Mules had never done before, but definitely enjoyed and hope to do again:
• Both the men’s and women’s lacrosse teams made the Centennial
Conference playoffs for the first time.
• Football received the highest ranking for
The women’s cross country team captured the Mule/Falcon Classic title for the second year in a row. The Mules beat out the second-place team by 32 points, putting three runners in the top 10.
Muhlenberg in any team sport when it was ranked number two in the American Football Coaches Association poll at the end of October.
• Memorial Hall was selected to host the first two rounds of the NCAA Division III Women’s Basketball Championship
for the first time.
• In early September women’s soccer beat Scranton for the first time in program history. The win gave the team its first 4-0 start ever.
“It’s Christmas Eve. It’s the one night of the year when we all act a little nicer, we smile a little easier, we cheer a little more. For a couple of hours out of the whole year we are the people that we always hoped we would be.” ~
Frank Cross, Scrooged
But Mule athletes practice their
holiday spirit all year long.
• The women’s basketball team co-sponsored a “Think Pink” campaign in
February to assist in raising breast cancer awareness. Fans that attended the doubleheader against Johns Hopkins wore pink to show their support for the cause. All proceeds went towards cancer research.
• The baseball team participated in a
5K race for Turning Point, the Lehigh Valley’s non-profit organization working toward the elimination of domestic violence; the group supports abuse victims, as well as works to increase community awareness about the issue.
• In September the men’s and women’s lacrosse teams ran in Ashly’s 5k Race for Freedom. The race was in honor of a 21-year-old local woman killed in Iraq. More than 60 Muhlenberg student-athletes participated.
• The volleyball team was involved with “Digging for a Cure,” an
Members of the women’s basketball team wore pink ribbons on their shoes in February for the “Think Pink” campaign, which raised awareness and money for breast cancer.
effort by Centennial Conference schools to raise money for breast cancer using dig totals from selected October matches.
“Rudolph with your nose so bright, won’t you guide my sleigh tonight?” ~
Santa Claus, Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer
Rudolph had to step up big, and so did Mule teams this year.
Senior goalkeeper Joseph Gogel of the men’s soccer team earned a spot on the All-Mid-Atlantic Region third team in his first year as a starter. Gogel recorded eight shutouts, playing all but 41 minutes in goal for the Mules.
• In just its sixth year as a varsity program,
men’s lacrosse team secured its first playoff berth with a 9-8 win over Ursinus
back in April. Muhlenberg finished fourth in the conference, behind three teams
ranked in the top 10 in Division III.
• With four freshmen in its
starting lineup, the women’s tennis team made the Centennial
Conference playoffs as the No. 3 seed.
• Women’s soccer advanced to the semifinal round of the Centennial Conference playoffs after a 2-1 come-from-behind win over Haverford. They lost to the top seed, Johns Hopkins, 1-0 in double overtime. They ended the season 11-5-4, three of their five losses against top-10 teams.
“Only I didn’t say ‘Fudge.’ I said THE word, the big one, the queen mother of dirty words, the F-dash-dash-dash word.” ~
Ralph Parker, A Christmas Story
Although we prefer highlighting the good
stuff, we can’t deny that were a
few times when we were all saying the F-dash-dash-dash word.
• The football team,
• The Muhlenberg men’s golf team took the lead on the first day of the Centennial Conference Championships
and remained on top on the second day.
But in the final round Muhlenberg couldn’t hold its lead, shooting 325 and finishing
• The first round of the NCAA Division III Women’s Basketball Championships against DeSales was a tight game that
featured eight ties, a game in which no team led by more than six points until the very end. DeSales went ahead for good with under 2:00 to play, after a pair of free throws and a three-pointer that had Mule fans “Fudging.” The shot bounced on the rim a couple of times, popped up, then touched iron again on the way down before finally falling through. The basket gave the Bulldogs a 53-48 lead. They went on to win 56-48.
one more win to complete its second consecutive undefeated
regular season, dropped the season finale to Moravian in
Rob Kein of the wrestling team ended 2008 ranked ninth in Division III at 149 by the National Wrestling Coaches Association. Kein was named Most Outstanding Wrestler of the Williams Invitational in January, and in November he won his third straight Monarch Invitational title.
• Both soccer
teams lost in the first round of the Centennial Conference
playoffs on the road in overtime to teams that would go on
to win at least one game in the NCAA Tournament.
“How can you say someone is great who’s never had his picture on bubblegum cards?” ~
Lucy Van Pelt, A Charlie Brown Christmas
Our Mules were all over the Centennial Conference awards during the past year: 37 Muhlenberg athletes
were named to the all-conference team in their respective sports. And 16 winter athletes, 31 spring athletes and 28 fall athletes made the Centennial Conference Academic Honor Roll.
Here are some who should have their picture on bubblegum cards:
• Lauren Boyle of the women’s basketball team recorded her 1,000th career point during
Muhlenberg’s 57-52 home win over Johns Hopkins in February, making her just the third Mule player to surpass that mark as a junior. Boyle also almost got the first triple-double in 20 years with 22 points, 10 assists and nine rebounds in Muhlenberg’s 76-57 win over Gettysburg
• Volleyball senior Megan Eiser reached
the career milestones of 2,000 assists
and 900 digs in the same match
• Last wrestling season, senior Joe Tartar pinned three straight opponents in a total of 4:59 to win the 285-pound bracket at the Washington and Lee Invitational. The title was the fifth of his career, including his second straight at W&L. The three pins gave Tartar 32 for his career, moving him into second place on the Mules’ all-time list.
• As a junior,
Christian Conti belted a school-record 11 triples in 40 games last baseball season, leading Division III in triples and triples per game. He also hit a school-record 11 home runs
and was named Centennial Conference player of the year.
• Senior John DeLuca earned top
honors in lacrosse and football this year.
He earned All-America honors in both
sports, becoming the first athlete in school history to be
an All-American in two different sports. He was also
named Centennial Conference offensive
player of the year and an Academic All-American
DeLuca helped the football team to the CC championship and
the lax squad to its first playoff berth.
• Alex Faust has taken over the record books.
Junior Phylicia Lee was named to the All-Centennial Conference second team after helping the volleyball team to a 17-10 record.
The junior holds the school and Centennial Conference records both indoors and outdoors in the pole vault and has won four gold medals in the event at conference meets. Faust also won the Centennial Conference gold medal in the 400 meters in 2008 and holds schools records in the 200 meters, both indoors and outdoors.
• Seniors David Chorney and Timothy VanSyckle had career-best finishes at the NCAA Division III Cross Country Championships at the end of November. VanSyckle placed 99th out of a field of 278, the second-best placing by a Mule runner at a national meet. Chorney finished 116th.
• Senior Matt Rathbun was named the Centennial Conference’s defensive player of the year in football. The linebacker led the Mules with 84 tackles and led the conference with 16½ for loss. He had three sacks and intercepted four passes, setting a school record with 164 yards on interception returns.
Mule Sports Daily can’t wait to return on Jan. 3; we’re excited to see what the Mules can do next year.
The Muhlenberg football team won its second consecutive conference championship, earning an NCAA bid for the fifth time in seven years. Fourteen Muhlenberg players were named to the all-conference team.