Royer's Shoulder Golden for Men's Soccer

Saturday, September 7, 2013 - page 2

Most people have been told at some point in their lives not to wait until the last minute to do something. For Chris Royer and the Muhlenberg men’s soccer team, though, procrastination is paying off quite nicely.

Royer notched his second game-winning goal of the season with 6:36 to play in the second overtime against Ithaca, handing Muhlenberg its third consecutive shutout victory in dramatic – and bizarre – fashion. After waiting more than three years to find the back of the net, the senior forward has now done it twice in three games. Unlike his first, a picture-perfect volley in a 2-0 win over Neumann, this one had plenty of luck to guide it.

Chris Royer
Royer (with Lance Dotzman behind him) celebrates the Mules' first Golden Goal since the 2010 NCAA Tournament.

Just like that goal, Royer’s latest winner was set into motion by a free kick from junior Bryan Attanasio. This time, Attanasio’s service to the box initially found the head of junior forward Joey Roberts, who flicked it towards the back post. Stationed in the perfect position, Royer had the ball bounce off his shoulder and into the net, stunning the Bombers and giving the Mules their first regular-season overtime home victory since a 1-0 decision against Gettysburg in 2006.

“Bryan had a nice set piece like the one he had for my first goal,” Royer explained. “He sent the ball in really well, and Joey flicked it on, and it deflected off my shoulder. It was kind of lucky, to be honest, but it was one of those right place at the right time things.”

For over 100 minutes, Muhlenberg couldn’t seem to be anywhere near the right place. The Mules, who didn’ play a single overtime game a year ago, managed just three shots on goal before Royer’s shoulder injected itself into the action. Once again, their defense was equal to the challenge of covering for a struggling attack.

Sophomore goalie Ellison Heil made two saves for his third straight shutout, and a Mules defense bolstered by the return of senior co-captain Ryan Barlotta extended its scoreless streak to 315 minutes.

“Our defense has been stellar this year,” said Royer. “Three straight shutouts – obviously that’s huge. The defense has been the whole backbone for this team through this little streak we’ve got going on.”

Joe Roberts
Attanasio's assist was the third of his career.
Though his latest tally might not make a skills video, Royer appears to be in form after spending most of his career desperately trying to dent the scoreboard.

“I guess it was just getting that monkey off my back,” he said. “Everything seems easier now. I had a few goals taken back earlier in my career, so it was a great confidence-builder to get that one.”

Call it karmic justice for Royer, whose goal gave Roberts his first career assist. And, for that matter, for the Mules, who generally controlled the game and had several close calls fall by the wayside before finally breaking through against an Ithaca squad that is its defending conference co-champion.

“We totally controlled the game,“ Royer said. ”We felt that we should have been up by at least four or five goals at the end of regulation, but you get in these games and you just have to grind it out. A 1-0 win is just as good as an 8-0 victory.”

A shoulder, in turn, is just as good as a head, or a foot. With his latest unlikely goal, Royer is now just one off the active Muhlenberg lead, behind an even more unlikely candidate.

“[Senior co-captain] Jonathan Schauer has three goals, and he’s the center back,” Royer said. “He always jokes around how he has the most goals out of our class, and he’s a defender”
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