Center-back Mark Walter '22 scans the field during a match with Immaculata in 2019. Photo Courtesy: Muhlenberg Athletics

For the first time since taking part in the Eastern College Athletic Conference Tournament in November of 2019, the Muhlenberg men’s soccer team played their first formal competition Sat., April 17. The men visited Franklin & Marshall College for an exhibition match which they tied with a score of 0-0.  

The Mules were very excited to finally return to the field. “It was great to finally get back out there with the guys. It was a shame that our fall season was cancelled—especially since it was my final season—but being able to get back out there on the field made it that much more special,” said goalie Lance Lysiak ‘21. 

“It really meant the world to me. We’ve been looking forward to this experience for over a year now, and even though it was just an exhibition match, it was great to get the adrenaline going again and prepare for next fall,” added center-back Mark Walter ‘22.

Although this matchup did not count for anything, the energy of the team was electric. “The emotions were really high for me and the rest of the team. We were just pumped to get back out there. Thankfully we didn’t let our emotions get the best of us, and I thought we played a really solid game,” said Walter.  

“It was a bit nerve racking for me, just not having been out there in so long, but as the game went on, with the help of my teammates, I was able to settle in and perform the way I know I’m capable of,” added Lysiak.

Given that the team hasn’t played a game in over a year, it was important for the Mules coaching staff to step forward and amp up their team. “Leading up to the game, our coaches kept telling us to give it our all and not hold back, because we are preparing for next season. Also, for us seniors, this could be one of our last games out on the field,” said Lysiak.  

The coaches were approving of the on-field performance by their players .  “Obviously there’s always room for improvement and we know that we have a few things to work on before next season, but we all like where we are at right now and know that the future is very bright,” said Walter.

At the moment, the Mules have six talented first-year students on the team and this was their first collegiate match. It was vital for the upperclassmen to help show the youngsters what Muhlenberg soccer is all about. Walter reflected on how the exhibition was a great opportunity for the freshmen to gain the experience of what a college soccer game feels like before stepping into a regular season game. “It helped us gain chemistry with each other in preparation for next season,” he said.

With only one more exhibition game scheduled for the spring, taking place this Friday, April 23, against Johns Hopkins, the Mules have high hopes and expectations heading into the 2021 season. “We all have the goal of winning a conference championship in mind. We all believe that it’s attainable. We have a great group of returning players and new incoming freshmen players which are going to add a lot to this team,” said Walter.

While the team knows how competitive the Centennial Conference is, they believe they have what it takes to contend. “We know how hard it is to win, but we believe in each other and the amount of work that all of us put in to perform at our absolute best will help us in the long run,” added Walter.  

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