The Muhlenberg men’s soccer team has had a strong season. The Mules have compiled (6-5-1), landing them the sixth seed in the Centennial Conference playoffs. During the beginning of the season, Varsity Field, the home of the Mules, was not ready for competition. This forced the Mules to play their games at an alternative site. “The biggest challenge for us was the inability to play on our home field for the first few games of the season,” said centerback Evan Schlotterbeck ‘25. “The field was being repaired and we had to move all of our home games off-site which was not ideal. We play our best soccer on Varsity Field and losing that to start the season was tough for us.
However, the Mules have collected an impressive stat sheet of wins and ties this season, such as Chris Richards ‘23 scoring his first-career hat trick (three goals in one game) and being named centennial conference player of the week. Throughout the season, the Mules have forced three shoutouts with two of them coming against Swarthmore College and the battle for the valley against local rival Moravian University. One of the Mules’ standout wins throughout the season was when they traveled to Dickinson College and won (5-1) which showed they can compete both at home and on the road.
Evan Schlotterbeck ‘25 talked about some of the difficulties when it came to not being able to play at Varsity Field for the beginning of the season.
“It also took us a little while to figure out what style of play and tactics suited us best,” said Schlotterbeck. “We played around with different formations and game plans, but it was not until about halfway through the year that we found our groove, and since then we have looked much more confident and comfortable on the field.”
Despite the challenges presented at the beginning of the season, that did not stop the Mules as they had great momentum heading into the playoffs. “Our biggest strength is our ability to score goals, we have the most goals scored in the entire conference, and we don’t plan to slow down. We also have depth on our bench, we can sub 6-7 guys off our bench and the level of play should remain the same and even increase at times,” said fellow teammate Chris Richards ‘23. “We have the players that are capable of great things, we just need to stay confident and do what we know we can, and that is playing a high level of soccer and making our opponents defend. Once we are able to control the possession, then we can attack gaps in the defense and capitalize on opponents’ mistakes. We have been extremely successful in counterattack situations and plan to continue this as we move into conference playoffs.”
Schlotterbeck understands that the Mules need to have confidence in their abilities in order to perform well in the playoffs. He said, “I think the biggest thing we all need to focus on is continuing to buy into the team-first mentality. We have done a great job playing as a cohesive unit throughout the year, and a big reason for that is every member of the squad will do whatever it takes to help the team win. The more we can continue to fight for the guys next to us, the harder it will be for teams to match our intensity. Another thing we [have] bought in on is believing in each other and ourselves. We have the talent, we have the drive, we have that winning mentality in us, and the more we can prepare each other for our opportunity to make a real run at this championship, the more determined we will be.”
With the playoffs coming, the Mules have to continue to have a well-balanced approach in order to play at their greatest potential. David Goldstein ‘23 talked about how the Mules need to continue to focus so they can be successful in the playoffs. He said, “Our biggest focus is on controlling what we can control. We know that we have a lot of talent within our squad, and if we stick to our game and give maximum effort then we will be successful. We have had some huge results this season by controlling the controllables and not worrying about things external to us.”
The Mules are ready to enter the playoffs with full force.