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Saturday, October 16, 2010

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Football, men's soccer Volleyball Cross country, field hockey

Women’s soccer holds on
to beat top-10 foe

With the clock winding down late in the second half, the screams from the stands of Varsity Field grew louder.

Time after time, Johns Hopkins kept pushing deep into Muhlenberg’s zone. But each trip ended scoreless as the Mule defense held.

Nicolette Miller
Miller’s seventh goal of the season proved to be the game-winner.
And when the clock finally reached 0:00, the celebration began. Muhlenberg’s defense had made its halftime lead stand as the Mules took a 2-1 win over the No. 8 ranked Blue Jays.

It marks the first time in school history that Muhlenberg (5-6-2, 4-2) has beaten Johns Hopkins in back-to-back seasons, and each time the Blue Jays were ranked in the top 10 (Muhleberg beat then-No. 7 Johns Hopkins 2-0 last year.).

CJ Graetzer got the scoring started when she gained control about 10 feet outside the Johns Hopkins box.

With her defender playing off of her, Graetzer lofted a shot at the net in hopes that she might get a deflection. Instead, the shot caught the Blue Jay keeper off guard, and off the line. The ball lofted over her outstretched arms and into the top of the net to give the Mules a 1-0 lead.

“Normally I wouldn’t have shot from there,” Graetzer said. “But since it was a windy day, I kind of just wanted to shoot it on goal and see what would happen. And then it went in, so that was pretty cool. That felt really good.”

The lead would not last long, however, as Muhlenberg was called for a foul in the box less than eight minutes later. The Blue Jays (11-3, 5-2) converted the penalty kick to tie the game. Meghan O’Grady and Nicolette Miller

But 10 minutes later, the Mules had an opportunity to respond with a penalty kick of their own when Johns Hopkins was whistled for a handball in the box. Nicolette Miller beat the keeper to the right side of the goal to put the Mules back up, 2-1.

Coming out of halftime, Muhlenberg made an early offensive push, but then settled in to defend its one-goal advantage. Johns Hopkins fired off the last 18 shots of the game — and held a 31-11 shot advantage overall — but could not convert the equalizer. Mule defenders blocked four Blue Jay shots in the second half, and goalie Michele Toher made three of her eight saves after the break.

According to Graetzer, the tension on the field increased with every Johns Hopkins surge. But when time finally expired, she said a feeling of relief rushed through her body as she hugged her teammates as they celebrated Muhlenberg’s first home win against a top-10 opponent since 2000, when the Mules knocked off No. 9 Messiah, 1-0.

“The clock was going by so slowly and I just wanted the game to be over,” Graetzer said. “I wanted to hear the whistle go off. I was sweating the entire time and I’m still shaking because I was so nervous.

“After losing to Swarthmore we really needed this win to get back into the conference race. [Johns Hopkins] is a really good team and they played a really tough game, so to be able to get this win was really huge for us. This feels really great right now.”
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