The Muhlenberg men’s soccer team had a successful season, with the Mules ultimately ending as the runner-up in the Centennial Conference. Despite the tough loss to Johns Hopkins in the championship game, the Mules grew as a team along the way and formed a memorable sense of team camaraderie.
Chris Richards ‘23 touched upon the season as a whole and how he felt the Mules grew as a team. Richards said, “This season was filled with ups and downs, obviously we had some great results this season but we also had our fair share of bumps along the way. But I can confidently say that this team grew immensely along the way.” Given that Richards is a fifth-year senior, he has experienced playing with multiple teams with different goals in mind. However, Richards seemed confident that during this season, the individual bonds among the team members grew stronger.
Sam Roberts ’27 talked about his first year playing for the Mules: “As a freshman, I didn’t know almost any of the guys on the team. They brought us freshmen in and we immediately became a family. From the first fitness test of preseason to now, I can say that all 35 guys on this team gave it everything they had all year long. We won, lost and tied together but that has only made us a tighter group. I could not ask for a better group of guys to have played my freshman season with.”
One of the biggest highlights of the season for the Mules was reaching the championship game in the Centennial Conference. During the semi-finals, Evan Schlotterbeck ‘25 had a header as his first career goal to boost the Mules to the championship game. Although the result was not in their favor, the Mules are proud of how far they have come. Richards talked about the strategy going into the game. He reflected, “Going up against Hopkins is no easy task, they are a very organized team and play a very methodical style of soccer. They make it difficult for teams to defend them as they have a lot of moving pieces and very talented players. When we first matched up against them, we sat in a bit more and let them try to come at us, just waiting for a mistake to capitalize on. Our approach was similar to this game but with a bit more of a strategic press. Hopkins did a good job of eliminating our threats and thwarting any dangerous opportunities we had.”
In terms of postseason play specifically, Roberts touched upon the atmosphere during the playoffs. He said, “Postseason play is something special. Everything we have been working towards for the last few months all comes down to just a few moments in the postseason. The atmosphere is electric and makes playing that much more exciting.”
Something that brings the team together is the strategies and mantras that they set. Roberts touched on some of the strategies the team had together this year. He said, “The team was very versatile, changing formations on the fly and replacing players because of injuries, with our deep roster making us difficult to play against. The starting 11 did not define our team this year, rather the impact that was created off of our bench is what dictated most games.”
Richards reflected on his final game with the Mules. He said, “The [championship] game was truly heartbreaking as we had our opportunities to score and change the course of the game, but things didn’t fall our way and we got unlucky. Everyone on our team gave it their all and I couldn’t be more proud of our team and how hard everyone worked all season. They will continue to be successful and competitive in years to come with all the talent we have.”