Preview: Men's Soccer Looks to Keep Winning Form

Friday, November 7, 2014

Volleyball preview

The Muhlenberg men’s soccer team has not been to the Centennial Conference playoffs since 2011. The result? A 2-0 defeat to Dickinson.

Last year, the Mules’ playoff hopes were also crushed in a 1-0 loss at Dickinson. Second-seeded Muhlenberg will have a shot at turning the tides when it clashes with the third-seeded Red Devils (11-4-2) in the semifinals of the CC playoffs tomorrow at Franklin & Marshall.

Travis Wantchekon “I don’t think any of the seniors will forget how painful that loss was,” said senior midfielder Travis Wantchekon. “But you’re only as good as your last game and we beat them this season, so we need to bring that form to Lancaster on Saturday.”

For the ninth-ranked Mules (12-1-2) the playoffs are coming around at just the right time with the team in the midst of a five-game win streak.

The Muhlenberg defense has proved to be a strong point all season long, allowing the second-fewest goals in the conference at 0.70 goals per game. Senior goalkeeper Danny Pinto has recorded seven shutouts while posting a .804 save percentage.

However, it hasn’t just been the defense that has the Mules firing on all cylinders.

Wantchekon (left) has been a threat all season, recording 18 points, good for second on the team behind only senior captain Lance Dotzman’s 24 points, which rank second in the CC.

The Mules will look to keep rolling and get a win on the same field they suffered their only loss of the season, a double-overtime setback to undefeated Franklin & Marshall.

“We are very proud of going undefeated at home this year,” said Wantchekon. “We need to bring that winning mentality that we’ve shown all year into the postseason.”

Oliver Katz The only major difference between the regular season and this postseason, however, is the field itself. Franklin & Marshall features a turf field that is bigger than others in the conference. While it may be a worry for some, the Mules aren’t too concerned.

“Unlike worn-down grass, turf is very level, so besides the unusual length and width of the pitch we shouldn’t have anything to worry about,” said Wantchekon. “There will be a bit more running to do but we are fit and determined so that won’t stop us.”

After beating the Red Devils 2-1 at home less than two weeks ago on a late goal by Dotzman, there will be a familiarity between the two sides and an intensified conference rivalry with much more at stake.

“Confidence is key especially with Dickinson wanting revenge after our last encounter,” Wantchekon stated. “We just need to play the Muhlenberg way.“

The Mules have had one of the best seasons in the last decade, but their sights are set on what is right in front of them.

“A Centennial Conference title means everything to us,” said Wantchekon. “We’ve suffered for long enough and now it needs to be our time. It’s up to us to bring it back to Allentown and bring that championship mentality back to ’Berg. We have what it takes.”

by David Anderson ’15

pictured at right: Oliver Katz is one of six senior starters for the Mules.