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Muhlenberg College

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

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Field hockey


With seven games remaining and a 5-5 record, the Muhlenberg women’s soccer team decided it had reached the turning point of its season.

Six consecutive wins later, the Mules are one away from clinching the top seed in the Centennial Conference tournament.

Muhlenberg (11-5, 8-1) defeated Ursinus 1-0 on a rainy night at Varsity Field to ensure itself a bye in the first round of the CC playoffs and come one step closer to achieving the goal it set over three weeks ago.

“We’ve got six down and one to go,” said sophomore Nicolette Miller. “We are going to go into the game against Gettysburg as intense as possible because hosting has been our goal.”

Maggie Neary
Freshman Maggie Neary and the rest of the back three, along with Toher, have allowed just two goals in the last 540:00 of action.
Ursinus (8-6-1, 4-4-1) matched the Mules’ intensity in this game, coming out firing early. The Bears had an excellent chance just 38 seconds in, but sophomore Michele Toher turned away a point-blank shot to prevent an early score before the rebound attempt sailed high over the net.

Though they recorded just two shots in the first half, the Mules made the most of them, as senior Kasey Hacker scored in the seventh minute on a turn-and-shoot from just outside the 18. Hacker’s shot hung in the air and found its way over the keeper’s outstretched hands for her fifth goal of the season.

“Watching a ball like that, there’s so much anxiety as it’s going up,” said Miller. “But it’s so exciting when it goes in.”

With the Bears needing a win to stay in the playoff chase and the Mules hoping to remain in first, the squads played a physical match the rest of the way that featured 23 fouls.

“We knew they were going to come out hard and be physical and we knew it was going to be tough,” said Miller. “They came hard, but we came just as hard.”

With the score still 1-0 late in the game, both teams had near misses.

In the 81st minute freshman Alyssa Meola took a free kick just outside the 18 and fired a shot headed toward the upper right corner, but it was punched over the net to keep Ursinus in it.

Just over a minute later the Bears thought they tied it when a free kick of their own, this one from much deeper, went over Toher’s head and in. But the goal was waived off because the Bears were offsides.

“Overtime was not something we wanted,” said Miller. “After that we thought, ‘We can’t let that happen again,’ and we worked our butts off the rest of the game.”

Toher made three saves, including another from point-blank range, in recording her second straight shutout. She has posted four shutouts during the Mules’ six-game winning streak. The Mules have outscored their opponents 11-2 over that stretch.

After tonight’s action all five playoff spots have been decided, with Johns Hopkins, Haverford, Swarthmore and Dickinson joining the Mules. A Muhlenberg win or a Hopkins loss would achieve the goal the Mules set back at the turning point of their season and give them the right to host the CC playoffs next weekend.
Click here box score.

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