Swarthmore hands Muhlenberg first loss
By James Derrick
|Mike Williams and his Muhlenberg teammates battled
Swarthmore but fell.
Muhlenberg photo by Lisa Youngentob
In two of the most enticing matches of the season, Swarthmore handed Muhlenberg its first loss, while Christopher Newport dealt Salisbury its second consecutive loss in an absolute thriller.
The Centennial Conference has boasted some of the best teams in
the nation this season, with Swarthmore ranked 8th, Johns Hopkins
ranked 21st, and Muhlenberg ranked 20th and undefeated, until
tonight. Heading into tonight's showdown, Swarthmore and Muhlenberg
claimed the top two spots in the conference, with each having yet
to falter, but it would be Swarthmore who claimed the spoils; in
particular, the regular season title. In a dead-even match, Morgan
Langley used an early 2nd half opportunity to grab the lead, as
Swarthmore held on for the vital 1-0 win.
In the other top 25 matchup tonight, No.18 Salisbury fell just shy of an astonishing comeback, where they twice fell behind, and twice recovered to push the limits against No. 2 Christopher Newport. Christopher Newport drew first blood in the 25th minute through a well-placed Danny Franklin opener. But Salisbury would respond. In the 49th minute, Dave Corrigan headed home to draw his team level, however, a screaming Winston Mattheisen free-kick found the back of the net to enable CNU to re-take the lead, With the match winding down, CNU's defense coughed up a routine clearance, where Salisbury forward Jake Perry capitalized to hammer home the late equalizer. Fighting tooth and nail for the winner, Christopher Newport defender Kyle Rose connected with a corner to snatch the match at the death. Losing just once in the season leading up to last weekend, Salisbury lost to No. 16 York in a vital conference dual on Saturday, and suffered their second in two this evening.
Top-ranked Messiah and No. 4 Ohio Wesleyan continued on their paths of destruction as the holders used a second half blitz to run riot on Lebanon Valley, and Ohio Wesleyan smashed four Wooster. Lebanon Valley's defense did not miss a step in their first half against the mighty Falcons, but a 49th minute goal from Nick Thompson opened the flood gates for Messiah, as they scored three within the next ten minutes. Geoff Pezon bagged a brace, and Messiah ran out 5-0 winners. It's been eight games since the holders (15-1) have shipped a goal, and 16 since they lost. Ohio Wesleyan has seen their impeccable form find its way to cruise control as they condemned another conference opponent to a shut-out loss. Ohio Wesleyan's 4-0 defeat of Wooster confirmed their place at the top of NCAC, and Wooster's place at the bottom (tied with Wabash). It hasn't been just scorchers for 4th ranked team, as they provided a 4-1 win over 19th ranked Kenyon in weeks past. Ohio Wesleyan moves to 13-1-2 overall.
Last night, 19th ranked Kenyon dropped vital points in their conference match with Denison, as their hopes of overtaking NCAC leaders Ohio Wesleyan evaporated with the final whistle. Despite dominating throughout the match, Kenyon was unable to unlock Denison's defense, as organization prevailed and the game ended in a scoreless draw. In the other match of the evening, York used the momentum from Saturday's win against Salisbury to seal their place at the summit of the Capital Athletic Conference, winning against Hood 3-0. Although leading only by a goal in the first half, York was never in any serious trouble, as Hood wasn't able to muster a shot of their own until the second half- their lone shot of the match. No. 16 York improves to 15-4.
The early goal was the key for No. 7 Stevens Tech as they too
cruised to a 4-0 win over Old Westbury, after Edward Rupp banged
home a rebound in the 4th minute. Stevens suffered their first loss
of the season a week ago, but has since caused significant damage
scoring seven goals in their last two matches. They conclude their
Empire 8 schedule on Saturday against Utica. Stevens improves to
11-1-3 overall, and is first in the Empire 8. In the other
Centennial match of the evening, Johns Hopkins needed just one to
bury Gettysburg in a tough battle between the two sides. Johns
Hopkins, although ranked 21st in the nation, has stuttered in their
conference campaign, where they now sit 4th overall, behind
Swarthmore, Muhlenberg, and Franklin and Marshall.
13th ranked Calvin earned a massive result in a massive game against conference opponent Olivet. Calvin, who began the season brilliantly, earning the top spot for a time, quickly found their conference campaign dissolving after a double-loss to Hope, and draws with Adrian, Trine, and Olivet. Sitting in the middle of the pack, Calvin has spent the last two weeks hauling themselves up, and tonight's win against Olivet saw them near the peak- much has been thanks to a very volatile conference with no true leader- as they sit second in the MIAA behind bitter rivals Hope. Despite dominating the match, Calvin left it late, but triumphed in the dying moments with an 87th minute goal from Scott Hooker.
In women's action, the CCIW and NJAC are without a doubt the two most competitive conferences this season, with each currently boasting three teams in the top 25, the CCIW boasting three in the top eight, and each team competing in vital fixtures this evening.
With Augustana downed by Wheaton, the CCIW was left with two teams maintaining undefeated conference records: Wheaton and Illinois Wesleyan. But on this day, it was Wheaton who came away the winner, 3-1. The match went very badly from the beginning, with Wheaton grabbing a vital early lead, once again via a Katelyn Kishkunas corner kick, with Laura Karsten on the receiving end. Just as Augustana failed to thwart Wheaton's dead-ball specialties, Illinois Wesleyan soon quickly realized their aerial threat. But it would not be long until Illinois Wesleyan drew level through a Molly O'brien effort. In the second half, Illinois Wesleyan found it more and more difficult to create against Wheaton's defense, as Wheaton began maintaining an important edge in the shots-fired margin. Midway through the second half, and Kishkunas' deadly accuracy found Karsten's deadly finish from another dead-ball to provide the game-winner. A free-kick awarded to Wheaton in the 75th minute proved the breaking point for Illinois Wesleyan, as Kishkunas again sent another deadly ball into the box, where Val Lelle scored the back-breaker. Wheaton now sits alone at the top of the conference.
In other CCIW news, Augustana dropped more points as their disappointing run continued, drawing 1-1 with North Central. Augustana struggled in the early stages, but finally unlocked a miserly North Central defense in the 68th minute through a Taylor Moesle shot. But failing to bury the game, Augustana allowed North Central forward Elizabeth Koet to smash home the crushing equalizer, where they successfully defended their draw through both periods of extra time.
In the top-25, NJAC battle, No. 9 Rowan was left in the wake of a resurgent TCNJ, who stormed to a 2-0 win to grab the regular season title on the last day of the season. Brittany McGinley was the hero for 14th ranked TCNJ as she bagged the game-deciding brace, one in each half, while the defense suffocated Rowan's typically spectacular offense to just six shots all game. With the win, and William Paterson's subsequent loss to Kean, TCNJ walked-off as regular season champions.
Rowan wasn't the only top 25 team to suffer tonight, as William Paterson, Ithaca, and Centre all suffered setbacks tonight. Bad day for William Paterson to recognize their seniors, as they were dealt a crushing blow by Kean en route to their first NJAC loss of the season. In competing with Rowan and TCNJ for rights to the regular season crown, William Paterson's loss to Kean places them just below tonight's winners TCNJ to conclude the regular season. In a dead even match otherwise, Kean held a slight edge, drawing first blood in the 59th minute, and then burying the match in the 80th. Ithaca, who narrowly escaped conference rival Nazareth over the weekend could do little to spare the inevitable blushes against formerly-ranked Oneonta. Despite pounding Oneonta keeper Amy Lusby with shots, a 9th minute goal was all that was necessary for Oneonta to walk away with a massive win heading into post season.
No. 25 Centre coughed up their second straight loss, as Denison claimed a shock comeback. Centre took control early on, and within 5 minutes, Denison was losing 1-0. Unable to break-down Denison's defense any further, Centre surrendered their lead with a pk just two minutes left before the break. Just one minute after the break, and Jen Clemmer fired Denison into a shock lead, one they would hold onto until the final whistle.
Messiah and Johns Hopkins were big winners in their matches, as they defeated Lebanon Valley 8-0, and McDaniel 7-1, respectively. Messiah's offense proved too much to handle, at any point of the match, as they fired and scored-at-will throughout. Amanda Naeher kicked off the fun for the holders in the 6th minute, and bagged an eventual brace. Corinne Wulf also bagged a brace, but it was Lisa Wingard who finished with a beautiful brace, the final goal a screamer into the upper 90. In Messiah's last five matches, they've amassed 37 goals, yielding none. Rather astounding, even for the national champs. In No. 13 Johns Hopkins' match with McDaniel, it took only one minute for things to get messy, with Paulina Goodman bagging the opener. All seven goals came from different players, demonstrating the dominance on display from Johns Hopkins as they increase their win tally to 14.
Top 10 teams Otterbein and Loras recorded victories in their matches this evening, with Otterbein winning against conference opponent Wilmington 2-0, and Loras defeating UW LaCrosse by a comfortable 3-0 margin. No. 4 Otterbein hold a commanding five point lead at the top of the Ohio Athletic Conference, and still remain undefeated, with a 15-0-1 overall record. No. 6 Loras improved to 17-1 following their non-conference win.
No. 15 Calvin won big against Olivet, and like their men's program, they sit second in the conference, just below Alma in their case. Calvin took early command of the game, dominating in shots and possession, and by 40th minute, the game was over as they jumped ahead 3-0, eventually winning 4-0. Allegheny were also 4-0 winners in their non-conference match with Daemon. Scoring a pair of goals on either side of the half, 20th ranked Allegheny recovered well from their weekend setback against Wittenberg. They conclude their NCAC season against Ohio Wesleyan as they look to climb the standings from their current 4th place, and steer clear of Kenyon, who sits just below them at fifth.
No. 22 Eastern Connecticut State maintained their undefeated season tonight with a hard-fought win over Manhattanville. The win improves them to 14-0-3 overall. Sitting at the top of the standings, they finish their Little East Conference campaign against Plymouth University this weekend.
On the West Coast, 16th ranked Puget Sound hammered Northwest Conference opponent Pacific Lutheran 4-0 as they look to land their regular season title. Pacific Lutheran stemmed a Puget Sound for 70 minutes, but after finding their potency in their attack in the 70th minute, Puget Sound scored an astonishing three goals in three minutes. The win progresses Puget Sound to an overall 14-1-2 record, while placing them atop the Northwest Conference table with a comfortable 4 point difference between them and the trailing pack.