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First Muslim Students Association team wins men's IM soccer championship

Greg Cornwell | Staff Photographer Team-members of MSA celebrate after winning the Men's IM Indoor Soccer Championships. MSA defeated Grape 10-9 Monday night at the Student Activity Center.

Members of the Muslim Students Association are used to celebrating their Islamic heritage.

On Monday, the intramural team known as "MSA" celebrated victory in the men's soccer league, defeating rival team "Grape" in a high scoring game, 10-9.

The MSA exists as an official presence on campus for the Muslim community, focused on increasing awareness about Islam and to strengthen ties with CMU students.

"MSA was relaunched this year after being inactive for several years. We wanted the Muslim community to be involved in sports and social activities," said MSA President Mishari Alkhuwaiter. "So what is better than playing soccer for the guys?"

The group includes about 200 members at CMU and the surrounding area.

"The Muslim community is not that big here," Alkhuwaiter said. "My goal is to make some awareness of Islam. Most feel intimidated by something they don't know and one of the goals of the MSA is to get involved in the community, be out there, and have a good representation in the community."

Many friends and fellow MSA members gathered above the indoor gym at the Student Activity Center to watch the match and rushed the floor to celebrate with the team after the final buzzer went off.

Alkhuwaiter coached this year's team, compiling his roster by picking the most-skilled players in MSA recreational games. Although he is not a huge soccer – or in their case "futbol" player – the co-captain of the team is responsible for technical changes and positions of the players.

MSA stormed over the competition in the tournament, doubling the competition's score in the first round, quarterfinal and semifinal games.

"They shocked me, I mean I know they are talented, but I did not know they were this good," Alkhuwaiter said.

He said he was happy with the win and hopes it will bring light to his organization as it continues to grow at CMU and in the community.

Other victors

The co-rec and men's leagues met for their championship games Monday, while the women's, fraternity and sorority leagues finished Sunday.

In order to qualify for an IM indoor soccer team at CMU, a team must have a minimum five players. Games run with two 20-minute halves with the clock pausing only in the concluding two minutes.

"Feel the Wheel" and "Busch League FC" met for the co-rec indoor league following the men's. "Feel the Wheel" started off strong with two early goals, and held on to win, 12-11.

"WillStrong" beat rival team "Goal Diggers" in the women's indoor league Sunday, with a concluding score of 7-6.

Sigma Chi defeated Sigma Alpha Epsilon in the indoor fraternity league by a dominating 10-1 score, while Alpha Sigma Tau edged out Phi Sigma Sigma in the indoor sorority league, 8-5.

Registration is still open for numerous sports, including four-on-four flag football, kickball, floor hockey and volleyball. Prices vary per team for different leagues on campus.