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Muhlenberg College

Saturday, October 17, 2009

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Women’s soccer scores second upset,
takes share of first place

Another day, another upset over a nationally ranked opponent for the Muhlenberg women’s soccer team.

Only this one meant a little more: it vaulted the Mules into a virtual tie for first place in the Centennial Conference.

Muhlenberg (8-5, 5-1) topped Johns Hopkins, ranked No. 7 by and No. 9 by the National Soccer Coaches Association of America, 2-0 in Baltimore, putting it into a virtual tie with the Blue Jays (11-3, 6-1) for the top spot in the CC standings three days after beating No. 16 Swarthmore.

“Having just beaten Swarthmore, we were positive coming in,” said senior Christina O’Grady. “We think we’ve got a good squad and we proved it tonight.”

Kimberly Hacker
Hacker has tied her career high with 10 points this season. Three of her four goals have come in CC games.
With rain coming down all game, the teams played a scoreless first half. In the second it was a trio of seniors that carried Muhlenberg to victory. Kimberly Hacker gave the Mules the lead in the 55th minute on an assist from Jennifer Lynch, and O’Grady added an insurance goal in the 82nd minute.

Muhlenberg had lost seven straight against Hopkins and had never won at Homewood Field. The win snapped the Blue Jays’ 24-game home unbeaten streak and was their first loss in CC play since September 29, 2007.

In addition to the weather, the game was also complicated by a late start because the Muhlenberg-Johns Hopkins field hockey match-up went into overtime. Though neither side put a shot on goal in the first half, the Mules did not feel it had any effect on their play.

“We discussed that possibility and came in expecting it,” said O’Grady. “It was a positive first half for us, and we really picked it up after the first 20 minutes. We started connecting and doing the things we wanted to do.”

Things really turned positive for Muhlenberg in the second, beginning with Hacker’s goal just under 10 minutes in. She lifted a shot from just outside the 18 over the goalkeeper and under the crossbar to give the Mules a 1-0 lead.

“It was a great shot,” said O’Grady. “That changed the whole momentum of the game and got us very excited.”

Hopkins’ next four shots were all on net, but sophomore Michele Toher turned three of them away and freshman Maggie Neary made a defensive save to keep the Blue Jays off the board.

With the Mules clinging to a 1-0 lead in the 82nd minute, O’Grady dribbled down the right side, beat a defender and fired a shot to the far post that found its way into the back of the net.

“It was a lucky shot,” said O’Grady. “But that was the icing on the cake for us.”

It also made Muhlenberg just the second team to score two goals on Hopkins, which entered the week ranked 13th in Division III in goals-against average, all season. The other was No. 1 Messiah.

With four games remaining, a share of first place and a leg up on the Blue Jays, the Mules are in prime position to host the CC playoffs for the first time since 2003.

“We’re determined to finish out the season with wins,” said O’Grady. “We’re hoping we can host this year.”
Click here for box score.

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