With their record currently standing at 4-4-1 the Muhlenberg Women’s soccer team is by no means content as their season winds down and the tension escalates. They faced off against Bryn Mawr College on Oct. 2 and came away with a dominant 2-0 win. Makenzie O’Brien ‘19 tallied assists on both goals, and the Mules totaled a 27-3 advantage in shots without allowing a shot on goal.
Although the steep shot differential the players on the Mules were impressed with the improvement of their opponent, who the Mules had outscored the Owls 18-0 since 2012. “Bryn Mawr had a lot of freshman this year that made an impact and they have a fairly new coach that really knows how to work well with the girls that he was handed,” said O’Brien. “This year they definitely were better at connecting passes and creating off the ball movement. They really focused on having quick restarts off of throw ins and free kicks which often worked to their advantage. They often played the quick short pass when they got free kicks which allowed them to build up momentum and create passes.”
In a defensively tough game on Sept. 22, the Mules came up short 1-0 against Dickinson after giving up a goal in the 83rd minute. Dickinson, coming off a win against nationally ranked Swarthmore could not be denied a victory in this contest and with stellar defense held off all five of the Mules shots.
The women started the game off strong where all their five shots came, unfortunately after halftime they were not able to muster up any offense and were held to zero shots in the second half. The team, currently tied for fifth in the Centennial Conference rankings have big games against second ranked Johns Hopkins and Ursinus.
“For us to beat Hopkins we will need to keep the ball out of our half as much as possible. During the Dickinson game we struggled to get the ball out of our end of the field and we were unable to create offensive opportunities,” said O’Brien. “For Hopkins we will need to get the ball in their half and try to create as many shots as we can just like we did against Bryn Mawr. We also know that they have some speed up top and therefore we need to be careful to not dive in on them defensively and have a good defensive shape,” O’Brien added.
At the halfway point of the season three Mules are tied for the most goals on the team with two. Danni Steigerwald ‘20, Mia Mulin ‘21, and Isabel Schwartz ‘21 have all scored twice this season. Leading the team in assists is Cortney Blake ‘21 with two passes that led to scores. With an impressive 1.13 goals per game in comparison to their opponents .88 goals per game the Mules look to be in good shape ahead of the final stretch where the bulk of their centennial conference play will occur.
Making the playoffs is a very attainable goal the Mules have. The landscape of the division leaves the Mules with games against three teams that currently are in the top five and two that aren’t. With a top five finish punching a team’s ticket into to Conference Tournament beating McDaniel – the team currently tied with the Mules – will be key. Johns Hopkins and Swarthmore sit atop the standings this season, and have combined to win every conference tournament since 2013. Muhlenberg’s last tournament title was in 2003 under the leadership of Leslie Benintend. Muhlenberg has not reached the championship since.
The Muhlenberg-Hopkins matchup will take place on Oct 6th at 1:00 p.m. over the college’s fall break.