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Muhlenberg College

Saturday, November 20, 2010

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Basketball Football

Late rally comes up short
as men’s soccer season ends in "Sweet 16"

Matt Cecconi
The Mules won at least 11 games in each of Matt Cecconi's four seasons in Allentown.
With each successive shot the screams grew progressively louder from the rowdy, red-clad fans surrounding Varsity Field.

Trying to mount a late comeback, the Muhlenberg men's soccer team pushed hard into the Merchant Marine zone.

And when Cody Antonini set up for a shot from the left side of the box with less than 10 minutes to play the nearly 900 fans in attendance stared with anticipation.

But the junior's blast was just a tad too high as it hammered off the crossbar and rattled the goal.

Muhlenberg could not put away the rebound and would not get any closer as the Mules fell to the Mariners, 1-0, in the third round of the NCAA Tournament.

"I took a little touch too far in front of me and I just got under it and lifted it up off the crossbar," Antonini said. "It's an unlucky bounce, but that happens."

Cody Antonini
Antonini ends his junior season in eighth place on Muhlenberg's all-time scoring list.
After Merchant Marine (13-2-5) took the lead on a rebound in the 19th minute, the Mariners packed in their defense in an effort to preserve their advantage.

Muhlenberg (13-3-6) outshot Merchant Marine 13-8 after the Mariner goal and 16-15 overall. But the Mariners were more accurate and held a 9-2 advantage in shots on goal. Jason Daniels, however, helped keep the Mules in the game with eight saves on the day.

With regulation time slipping away, Muhlenberg's offense picked up its urgency.

The Mules fired off six shots in the final 11 minutes, including Antonini's rocket off the crossbar. But none of the shots could find the back of the net before time expired, and Muhlenberg had to watch as the Mariners stormed the field, silencing what had been an energetic Mule crowd.

But while the result did not go the way the Mules had planned, senior back Eric Williams said he had no regrets as he walked off the field. Not only did Muhlenberg give a great effort, he said, but the atmosphere and experience of hosting an NCAA Tournament game is something he will never forget.
Danny Way
Danny Way finished the postseason with five goals and one assist.

"We played well," Williams said. "It was a tough, hard-fought game all day. We rang one off the crossbar in the last couple minutes; it was a tight game. I'm not disappointed because we played a hard game."

The loss marks the end of a season filled with accomplishments.

The Mules began the year with a school record 15-game unbeaten streak and advanced to the Centennial Conference championship game for the first time since 2005.

Muhlenberg then won a pair of NCAA Tournament games for just the third time in school history and hosted a third-round tournament game for only the second time.

And according to Williams, those positives will be what he remembers when he looks back upon his Mule career.

"We had a great season. It always stinks going out unless you win the national championship, but you can't reflect on that," Williams said. "We had a lot of big highlights, so this season was not a disappointment by any means. I'm proud to be a Mule."
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Muhlenberg® Collegeempty2400 Chew St.emptyAllentown, PA 18104-5586empty484.664.3100empty484.664.3623  (TTY)




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