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Muhlenberg College

Sunday, October 28, 2007

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Women’s soccer Football

Men’s soccer ties for regular-season title

On a day devoted to seniors, it was two freshmen who made the most significant plays as the Muhlenberg men’s soccer team closed out the regular season with a 1-0 win against Ursinus.

Although it had no bearing on the playoffs, the victory clinched a share of the Centennial Conference regular-season title for the Mules (12-3, 7-2). They finished in a three-way tie for first with Franklin & Marshall and Johns Hopkins, both of which have been nationally ranked all year. But since Muhlenberg lost to both, it will be the third seed and will face Johns Hopkins at Franklin & Marshall on Saturday in one semifinal.

Freshman Mike Williams scored the lone goal, chesting in a free
Jonathan Kliewer
Kliewer brings the ball upfield in the first half.
kick from junior Steven Tenenzapf with 4:46 left in the first half. Sophomore Samuel Hayden won the free kick after battling two Bear players for the ball and getting tripped about 35 yards from the goal.

Ursinus wanted a hand ball, but the goal was allowed.

“It caught me up in the chest, so it was legit,” said Williams, the 13th Muhlenberg player to score a goal this year. “Not exactly how I pictured my first career goal, but a goal is a goal and anything counts as long as it gets up on the scoreboard.”

Although the Mules didn’t put any more in, they had the better of play for the majority of the second half. The Bears (7-8-2, 2-5-2) had a couple of good chances to draw even late. With about 6:30 left senior Peter Bennett made back-to-back point-blank saves. Then in the final two minutes, an Ursinus player shot a ball through Bennett’s hands, but freshman Matthew Cecconi cleared the ball off the line with a bicycle kick.

“It was a bit of a breakdown,” said junior left back Andrew Brick of the last close call. “In the final two minutes with a 1-0 lead we need to be a little more focused. But we always back up our goalie, and fortunately we got there just in time.”

Cecconi’s save preserved Muhlenberg’s 10th shutout of the season. The Mules have allowed only seven goals all season, and since losing to Johns Hopkins a month ago have won seven straight, outscoring their opponents, 14-1.

“I feel that as the season has gone on we’ve gotten stronger [in the back],” commented Brick. “We have a better feel for each other, and we feel we can rely on each other, which is important for a back four.”

One of the back four, Jonathan Kliewer, was honored along with Bennett and Karim Assous prior to his final home game. The Mules’ three seniors are a combined 42-20-7 over the last four years.

“They’re awesome, and I know they’re the reason a lot of us freshmen came to Muhlenberg,” said Williams. “They keep the team so tight-knit. We can’t be without them.”
Click here for box score.

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