The ‘Berg versus ‘Burg rivalry

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Photo by Assistant Photo Editor Kira Bretsky '27.

Muhlenberg field hockey, volleyball and both men’s and women’s soccer teams all hosted the Gettysburg College Bullets over the past two weeks for what students have been calling the “‘Berg versus ‘Burg” rivalry games.

The “‘Berg versus ‘Burg” rivalry was on full display these past two weekends as there were four matchups in which Gettysburg teams traveled to Allentown to face off against the Mules.

The rivalry began with a field hockey matchup on Sept. 23, which was Muhlenberg’s first in-conference field hockey game of the season. Over the past couple of seasons, the Mules have had the upper hand against the Bullets in field hockey, as they have won their last two matchups. Fortunately, the Mules were able to keep their hot streak versus the Bullets alive as they won 2-1 and started this year’s “Berg versus Burg” rivalry with a win.

Last weekend there were three “‘Berg versus ‘Burg” matchups, Muhlenberg’s 10-4 volleyball team took on Gettysburg Friday night, in both of their first Centennial Conference games of the season. In recent years Gettysburg has had the Mules’ number in volleyball, as Muhlenberg has not won a match – let alone a set – versus them since 2018. Unfortunately, Gettysburg was able to push their win streak to four games against Muhlenberg, winning 3-1. However, despite losing, there was definitely improvement from prior years as the Mules won one set, and almost a second in overtime. 

As of Oct. 4, the team currently sits at an overall record of 10-5. Their next game is this Saturday where they take on Johns Hopkins, the reigning Centennial Conference champions.

On Saturday, Sept. 30, both soccer teams went up against Gettysburg as well, with the women’s game kicking off at 4 p.m. and the men’s starting directly after at 7 p.m. Going into the game, the women were looking to end their four-game losing streak as recently it’s been a struggle for them to find a win. When looking at the women’s soccer “‘Berg versus ‘Burg” rivalry, it’s been very competitive, as the teams have tied in three of their four past matchups coming into this weekend. Unfortunately, the women’s team was unable to come away with the victory in this one as they lost a tight one, 0-1. 

Despite the loss, it was a competitive game and the team knows that their record does not reflect how they’ve been playing. “I think a major positive was that everyone’s energy and competitiveness were radiating from one another. Our team motto ‘No FEAR (Family-Energy-Accountability-Resilience)’ reminded us every minute of the game was ours and could change. We recognized our energy and hard-fought battle at the end of the game and made the commitment to use that momentum in our next game. Also, our other core value, resilience, was an amazing positive in this game,” said Lexi Sipos ‘24. 

Sipos continued: “For our upcoming matches, we are not let down. If anything, this pushes us forward to work harder in film and on the field, keep being competitive with each other at practice and never forget that we’re in this together. Yesterday’s game was also our mental health awareness game, and we know leaning on each other now more than ever will only build us up.”

Unless any of the teams face off against one another in the playoffs, the fall 2023 “‘Berg versus ‘Burg” rivalry concluded with the men’s soccer game. Coming into the game, the Mules men’s team hadn’t lost a game since their first matchup of the season, and held a record of 6-1-1. Days before this game, the Mules beat Haverford 3-0 in their first game as a nationally ranked team, as they were ranked 22 in the nation in the most recent Division III national rankings poll. Last time these teams faced off was in the first round of the 2022 Centennial Conference playoffs, where the Mules defeated the Bullets 1-0. Unlike their last matchup, which was a close game to the end, the Mules demolished them this time around, winning 5-1 led by a hat-trick from graduate senior Tay Akdag ‘24. 

The team will likely move up in the national rankings following their easy win against the Bullets, and seem to be much improved from last season despite them winning the Centennial Conference championship last year. “I think we’ve been able to use last season’s success as a stepping stone to take it to the next level this year. In comparison to last year, we’ve been able to turn some close games into wins when they might have ended in ties or losses last year. It’s a testament to all the hard work we put in during the offseason and throughout the season so far. We’ve also added a couple of transfers and freshmen who have come in and right away contributed to the team’s success,” said Captain Kevin Adams ‘25.

Both soccer teams travel to Lancaster this Saturday to go up against the Franklin & Marshall Diplomats in an in-conference doubleheader.

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