On Saturday Sept. 17, many people showed up in support of the Muhlenberg women’s soccer game against the McDaniel College Green Terror. The event showcased much of the women’s talent and how well they work together. There were many strong notes throughout the game, such as Emily DeAngelo ‘22 and Savannah Rode ‘24 in sync in the defensively, as well as Cassie Burke ‘24 and Bri Astbury ‘24 in the offensive position. Alexandra Chirinkin ‘23 had amazing free kicks and was quick on her feet in preventing the opposing team from turning from the outside to cross the ball to the center and score. Unfortunately, these performances did not result in a Mules win, losing to the Green Terror 6-1.
The Muhlenberg community provides overflowing support in the stands. Rachel Saxton ‘25, point guard for the Muhlenberg women’s basketball team explains how the energy from the fans, “shows how close of a community that Muhlenberg is.” She adds, “As an athlete, when I’m on the court and when I’m working, I think being there and cheering on the team really helps how the team performs and amps up their intensity.” Amongst the supporters were the men’s soccer team. Captain DeAngelo comments, “The men’s and women’s soccer teams definitely both strongly support one another.” The two teams recently started off the season water rafting, which DeAngelo described as, “a lot of fun.” The teams do other team bonding events frequently throughout the season together. One of their favorite events being their formal they do every year. DeAngelo makes it clear, “when [they] have the chance to [they] are in the stands rooting each other on.”
“locked in and working together”Noah Pietila ’25
Even though the team’s schedules don’t always allow them to be there for each other, they do what they can to support each other, even if it’s watching their games through live feeds on the bus ride to their own game.
The Mules’ chemistry appears to be the best it has been in the past few years. Brandin Osborne ‘23 discusses how, “in terms of team comradery, [the team is] on the same page.” The team’s chemistry has intensified with an off field connection, Osborne continues. “As a team player the bond with my team would more so be about… fighting for the guy next to you… and always putting in your best effort.” The connection this team has built was obvious during Sept. 17’s match against McDaniel.
As the whistle blew, it was as if a switch had gone off, and the trust built in this team spoke for itself. In tune with his teammates’ movements, Taylan Akdag ‘23 quickly and effortlessly glanced at his teammates, knowing they would be in position for the perfect pass for Chris Richards ‘23 to score within the first five minutes. This set him up to set a new school record for the fastest goals within the first and second halves! Caleb Herring ‘24 notes that, “everyone is accountable [for] each other,” emphasizing the trust they have built as a team. Their trust made the spectating experience more exciting, as their team’s dynamic and fluency as a unit brought life to the field. The game could not have been more eventful.
After the first goal, it was clear that the Mules were “locked in and working together,” explained Noah Pietila ‘25—as Muhlenberg won 3-1 against the McDaniel Green Terror. With a promising start to the game, the Mules solidified their win with Akdad scoring with 22 minutes left in the game and Richards’ second goal, with an assist from Tarin Morris ‘23. While the offense was well coordinated, the defense really blew the stands away. Every time the ball was on the Mules’ end, they were quick to attack and take control of the ball to return it to the offense. It was exciting to see how the defensive line functioned with a newer goalie, especially because it is a “young group” as Pietila ‘25 puts it, and they are building a newer dynamic from previous years.
Pietila, who shared his experience with Josh Richards ‘23, the team’s fifth year captain, stating that he “really leads… and inspires” by getting the team to “perform to the best of their ability.” His leadership style creates an environment where people can feel accepted. Taye Edwards ‘26 commented on how Richards’ leadership contributes to a stronger team community that allows for an easier transition into Muhlenberg. He further states how the team is a “second family” which makes him want to, “play harder for [his teammates].”
The games are an extension of how the team acts in terms of social cohesion, connection, and trust. You can’t have one without the other. Their bond off of the field supports collaboration on the field, and the way that they play reflects this.