On Nov. 2, The Muhlenberg men’s soccer team ended its year on a positive note winning a 2-1 contest against Washington College. While many things this season did not end up going the way the Mules had hoped, coming up with a victory on senior day was a fitting way to honor the team’s 10 graduating members’ storied careers and unrivaled commitment to their athletic endeavors.
The team’s absence from the postseason comes as a shock to many, particularly because of the way they dominated opponents during non-conference games at the beginning of the year, starting off 6-0-1, including a 10-0 whalloping of Centenary.
“We were extremely confident and unified throughout these games, which is why we had success. But once conference play came around, the team seemed to lack a sense of urgency for the full 90 minutes,” Pete Luther ‘20 noted, reflecting on the group’s inability to strike while the iron was hot.
Luther also voiced his frustration about the team’s helplessness on the field relative to the fire and fury they had in practice and throughout team workouts. “We would go into each match with a solid gameplan, but our problem was that we weren’t properly adapting to the flow of the game, and we slowly lost sight of how we were going to see games out. Having such a talented and deep team, it’s perplexing that we constantly allowed our opponents to dictate the pace of the match,” Luther explained.
Although their record, 9-6-2, appears less than stellar, it reflects neither the work put in by the team since last offseason nor the results of the season as a whole, especially given that plenty of games came down to calls and botched plays that could easily be considered trivial in the moment.
“I thought that many things did not go as we had hoped, but at the same time, the year was not a complete disappointment,” Sebastian Leyes ‘23 said about his inaugural collegiate season. “Obviously making the Centennial Conference playoffs was one of our goals, but many of the games that we lost were close games that came down to a single counter-attack, a bad call or an unnecessary foul,” he added.
One large contributor to the team’s win-loss mark was the fact that they seemed to have a difficult time against conference opponents, having won only two of their nine matches. “In order for Muhlenberg to take the next steps to perform better in conference, the team needs to show more consistency on and off the field. We faced tough opponents with good results out of conference, which we failed to do in conference,” goaltender Raymond Leto ‘20 reflected as he makes his way out and his teammates prepare to turn their focus on the year to come.
The Mules have big things ahead for them, and with some fine tuning, they will certainly be a force to be reckoned with come Fall 2020.