BETHLEHEM, Pa. --- Moravian College resumes its look back at the 2013-14 athletic campaign with Top 10 Stories from the past year including the No. 7 story – Moravian capturing the Matte Award from rival Muhlenberg College outright for the first time since 2002-03 with a 10-6 record of the Mules last year.
The trophy was donated by Mr. and Mrs. Aaron Matte, a 1970 graduate of Muhlenberg, in 1987-88 with the Mules taking the trophy the first year. The Greyhounds then won it six straight years before a tie in 1994-95. Moravian prevailed again in 1995-96 to start a string of five consecutive wins before another tie in 2000-01. The Greyhounds captured the trophy twice more but since the 2003-04 academic year, the Mules have had the trophy in their possession for 10 straight years with the schools tying twice more in 2007-08 and 2011-12.
"It is a rivalry that goes back a long time," stated Moravian Director of Athletics Scot Dapp. "Cory (Goff, Muhlenberg's AD) and I have talked about this, unfortunately except for football, since we're not in the same conference anymore, you lose a little bit of the rivalry but once you step on the field and then it comes back."
The schools meet head-to-head in 16 sports over the three athletic seasons with one point for each victory. The results for men's and women's cross country are taken from the NCAA Division III Mideast Regional each November while the men's and women's track & field results rotate between the Muhlenberg Invitational and Moravian's Coach P Open each year. For softball when the teams play a doubleheader, the point would be split half if the squad's each win one game of the twin bill.
Muhlenberg took a 1-0 lead this past fall with a 4-0 win in men's soccer action on September 11 on Moravian's HUB Quad. The Greyhounds won the next two events, field hockey on September 25, 2-1, at Betty Prince Field and women's tennis on October 3, 8-1, in Allentown to build a 2-1 lead.
"As a graduate of Moravian, it is always a big deal when we play Muhlenberg," stated Head Field Hockey and Assistant Women's Basketball Coach Amy Endler, a 1993 Moravian graduate. "Even though they are not in our conference for field hockey, the close proximity feeds the rivalry. It was great to get the victory this past year to help in getting the Matte trophy back in our hands."
The Mules tied the standings again with a two-stroke win in golf at the John Makuvek Cup on the Weyhill Course of the Saucon Valley Country Club on October 6. Moravian then built a 4-2 lead in the standings with a 2-1 overtime victory by the women's soccer team on October 30 on the HUB Quad and a 3-1 win by the women's volleyball squad on November 2 in Allentown. Three teams competed on November 16 to finish the fall with the Mules winning men's cross country, 20-35, and football, 24-12, and the Greyhounds capturing women's cross country, 25-30, to lead 5-4.
The only two sports to meet during the winter season are on the hardwood. The Mules won the men's basketball game in Johnston Hall on November 19, 75-56, but the Greyhounds captured a 73-68 win in the women's contest also in Johnston Hall on December 3 to take a 6-5 lead in the Matte standings, a lead that would not be relinquished.
"Beating Muhlenberg each year is high on the list of our team goals each season," said Head Women's Basketball Coach Mary Beth Spirk. "From the basketball perspective, getting a victory against them is a huge accomplishment. Winning the Matte Award means our teams at Moravian beat Muhlenberg across all sports ... and again, it is a big accomplishment. We want to keep it here for more than a year."
Moravian won the first four events this spring with men's track & field earning a 92-81 victory and women's track & field capturing a 100-66 win on April 5 went scoring was computed from the Muhlenberg Invitational. The Greyhounds' softball team clinched the Matte trophy coming back to Bethlehem with a sweep, 5-1 and 2-1, on April 10 at Cedarcreek Field.
"I think over the four years my class learned a lot about what taking pride in our school's spirit, and it became a big thing for us," explained senior right fielder Miranda Sergas. Especially Muhlenberg, it was the most competitive non-conference game for us I would say. It was exciting knowing this year that the award depended on baseball and our win to clinch the trophy. It shows who recruits the best talent in the area and which school wants it more. It's such a great thing to have for the community to get involved with as well as generate schools spirit through all men's and women's sports on campus.
"Of course it was always a big day in the season," continued Sergas. "Freshman year I didn't understand but after being a captain this past season and my last season, my class and I wanted it more than anything. We all knew how important those two games are for our school and to make those eight letters across our chest mean something and make a statement. Our program has always dominated the other softball programs in the area, so clinching both games was always important, especially since coach John Byrne and the girls from past teams worked so hard to get the program where it is today and known throughout the community."
The Moravian baseball team earned a 4-3 win at Gillespie Field on the same day while the Mules won the final contest, a men's tennis match, 6-3, also on April 10 in Allentown.
"I didn't play a lot as a freshman, so I really didn't appreciate the Matte Award competition but for the last two years, I've noticed and realized that we look forward to that game on the schedule," stated junior third baseman Ryan Luke. "After you win that game, it is one of the highlights of the season. It is good competition every year, and both schools respect each other and it shows in the sportsmanship on the field. We want to keep bringing it back to Moravian."
The first scheduled meeting between the schools in the 2014-15 campaign is a men's soccer contest on Wednesday, September 10 in Allentown at 7:00 p.m.
Top 10 Stories of 2013-14
#10 – Women's Basketball Leads DIII in Blocked Shots
#9 – Seven Hounds Earn All-America Honors
#8 – Negron Becomes 3rd Hound to Rush for 1,000 Yards in a Season
#7 – Moravian Captures Matte Award for First Time Since 2002-03
#6 – TBA
#5 – TBA
#4 – TBA
#3 – TBA
#2 – TBA
#1 – TBA