Matchup: The Swarthmore women’s soccer team visits Muhlenberg on Thursday night at 7PM for the first round of the Centennial Conference Tournament. The Garnet is seeded fifth after a 6-3-1 regular season. The Mules finished 6-3-1 as well but earned the tie-breaker and home-field advantage thanks to a 2-0 blanking of the Garnet on October 17 at Muhlenberg.
The Garnet: Swarthmore enters Thursday’s match coming off a 0-0 draw with Haverford on Saturday. The Garnet was outshot 22-9 in the contest but Reba Magier ’16 made eight saves to preserve the point. The freshman is 36th in all of Division III with a .582 goals against average. Swarthmore has not lost, or even conceded a goal, in the two weeks since the 2-0 defeat at Muhlenberg. Since, Swarthmore has shutout CCNY and Bryn Mawr before Saturday’s draw. The Garnet averages a shade under two goals per game, but did not score this year against any of the four teams in the Centennial postseason. Of the five playoff teams, Swarthmore has the second best goals against average this year trailing only second-seed Gettysburg.
The Mules: Muhlenberg enters Thursday’s match having secured the four-seed with a 1-0 shutout of Ursinus on Saturday. Freshman Nicole Karsch scored the game-winner and was named Centennial Conference Offensive Player of the Week. Muhlenberg is just 1-2 since their victory over Swarthmore on October 17 with shutout losses to Gettysburg (1-0) and Moravian (1-0). The Mules finished just 8-8-2 overall this year. The team is led by goaltender Francesca Cobuzzi who is 32nd in all of Division III with a .872 save percentage.
Swarthmore vs. Muhlenberg: When the teams first met this year, the Mules scored a single goal in each half and Cobuzzi made four saves in the shutout. The Mules outshot Swarthmore 11-8 and had four corners to Swarthmore’s none. The result broke Swarthmore’s two game winning streak in the series, though both of those victories came at Clothier Field in 2010 and 2011. Muhlenberg is 8-1 head-to-head all time in Allentown with the Garnet’s only win coming back in 2007. The Mules lead the all-time series 13-5-3, though they have only two wins in the teams’ last seven meetings with Swarthmore 4-2-1. The two teams have never met in the postseason. The Garnet is ranked No. 7 in the NCAA’s latest Mid-Atlantic Rankings. Muhlenberg is unranked.
To the winner…: Thursday’s winner has a short turnaround before Saturday’s Centennial Semifinal against No. 1 seed and NCAA Mid-Atlantic No. 2 Johns Hopkins. Hopkins finished Centennial regular-season play at 9-1 including a 2-0 victory over Swarthmore in Baltimore. Hopkins’ lone loss came to Muhlenberg. Johns Hopkins is hosting the Conference semis for the second-consecutive year and has won seven consecutive Centennial Titles overall. The Garnet is looking for its second-consecutive trip to the Centennial Conference semifinals. The team fell 1-0 to Gettysburg at Hopkins last year.
Follow Live: Watch tomorrow’s first round match beginning at 7PM at http://www.livestream.com/muhlenberg. Live stats are available at http://www.muhlenberg.edu/sports/wsoclive/xlive.htm.