BETHLEHEM, Pa. --- For the 14th time in the 27-year history of the award but for the first time since the end of the 2002-03 academic year, the Matte Award will be spending the next year at Moravian. College after the Greyhounds bested rival Muhlenberg College, 10-6, this 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 times 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 season, 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.
Members of the two schools' athletic departments as well as student-athletes from each school met for the annual Matte Award Luncheon Thursday in Moravian's Haupert Union Building.
"It is a rivalry that goes back a long time," stated Moravian Director of Athletics and former Head Football Coach 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 meetings for men's and women's cross country are taken from the results of 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 win would be split if the squad's split 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. The Greyhounds won the next two events, field hockey on September 25, 2-1, and women's tennis on October 3, 8-1, to build a 2-1 lead. The Mules tied the standings again with a two-stroke win in golf at the John Makuvek Cup 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 and a 3-1 win by the women's volleyball squad on November 2. 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 on November 19, 75-56, but the Greyhounds captured a 73-68 win in the women's contest on December 3 to take a 6-5 lead in the Matte standings, a lead that would not be relinquished.
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. The Greyhounds' softball team clinched the Matte trophy coming back to Bethlehem with a sweep, 5-1 and 2-1, on April 10. The Moravian baseball team earned a 4-3 win on the same day while the Mules won the final contest, a men's tennis match, 6-3, also on April 10.
"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.