As the school year jumps into full swing, the Muhlenberg men’s soccer team has opened up its season with a record of 2-0-1.
On Saturday, Sept. 7, the team traveled to Grantham, PA in a match with the 1-2, Messiah College, one of the best programs in all of D-III sports.
The game started swiftly, with the Falcons quickly taking dominant control over the ball and as the first half came to a close, the Mules found themselves in a 1-0 hole. However, the team would go on to turn things up in the second half and a game tying goal by Kevin Hagan ‘20. The goal by Hagan would prove to be all the Mules could muster as the game would end in a 1-1 stalemate.
This positive start to the season has Hagan optimistic, especially following a rough 2018-2019 season. “Last season, our record did not reflect our talent. I believe that we are one of the best teams in the conference, but we struggled to finish out games and often found ourselves losing by one goal, or even worse, losing in overtime,” said Hagan.
But this year is entirely different from last year. Hagan stressed a positive mindset going into the new season, “This season, we are focused on discipline and fitness. With this in mind we can be coming out of a close game with a win as opposed to a tie or a last minute loss,” Hagan added.
For senior Zach Cimring ‘20, the same mentality has been put into place. “A lot has changed from last year to this year. The first thing and most important is our mentality and desire to go as hard as possible for as long as possible. Last year, we lost a lot in overtime from lacking focus. Our whole team is focused and ready to tackle any obstacle. We are here to get the job done and that means getting important results,” Cimring explained.
Cimring praised the team and all the work they have put in. “For me, this team has been four years in the making. The last four years have been built up to this season and everyone is ready to continue improving each day”
The recent hiccup, that was the tie against Messiah, is not letting the team forget about their hot start. They began the season 2-0, winning big games against Susquehanna and Immaculata. Hagan does not let this go unnoticed. “We’ve had a great start to this season, and I’m especially excited about the amount of goals that we are scoring and the amount of chances that we are creating. We have an experienced back line, and one of the best goalkeepers in Division III soccer. That being said, we have struggled to score and create chances in the past and we are looking to change that this season. With seven goals in three games, we are off to a good start, and we hope to stay consistent with our offense,” Hagan said.
“We all want to win more than anything and are contributing in all aspects that support winning whether in the classroom, in the weight-room or on the field,” agreed Cimring.
With a big Centennial Conference match drawing near, the team is gearing up to play the Franklin and Marshall Diplomats. They look to utilize everything they have learned so far. “The Messiah game proved to us that we can play well against any team as long as we have the right mentality and we plan to bring that against every team. F&M is just another team and we train hard so that we can dominate them in all aspects. Momentum and confidence is huge and we are buzzing right now,” said Cimring.
Hagan and Cimring could not agree more. “We still have a few more games before conference play, and right now we are taking things one game at a time. Our mindset is to improve in each game that we play and if we can do that, then we will be ready when the time comes to face Franklin and Marshall.”
The team has three more games prior to their journey to Lancaster, PA to visit Franklin and Marshall on Sept. 21 as the chase for a Centennial Conference championship truly kicks off
Cimring urges his team to keep their heads up after the tough tie. “Everyday is a new day to improve and grow as a team and that’s what we’re doing,” Cimring said.