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Messiah Scores Game's Only Goal, Defeats Etown 1-0
The Falcons rose to the occassion on Wednesday, as Coach Trapp's squad earned a hard-fought 1-0 win over Etown.

By Cody Swartz, Gomessiah.com Reporter
Grantham, PA - The Messiah Falcons kicked off this year’s fall break with a narrow 1-0 win over conference foe Elizabethtown College. The two teams battled to a scoreless tie for the first 50 minutes of action before junior Juliana Hershey broke through with a goal, which proved to be the only score by either team.

It was the sixth straight time the Falcons (10-4, 4-0) defeated the E-Town Blue Jays (9-4, 3-2) and third straight via shutout. Messiah remains 22-0 (including playoffs) in conference play since the newest formation of the Commonwealth Conference in 2009.

“The girls played well today,” said Jan Trapp, Messiah’s head coach. “They approached the game with a lot of determination. They never came close to letting down or giving up, and they just went about their business.”

It was a testament to Trapp’s team that in their lowest scoring output of the season, they still walked away with a victory. The Falcons are averaging over 3.5 goals per game this year and scored just one today, but a stellar defensive effort from the whole team was enough for the win.

Messiah, which beat E-Town 5-0 each of the last two years, controlled the ball handily in the first half, but ultimately couldn’t punch it in. The Falcons outshot the Blue Jays 4-1 and registered five penalty corners to Elizabethtown’s one.

“We were close so many times, but just couldn’t score,” Trapp said. “The girls had a little trouble finishing today, which isn’t normally a win, but they fought very hard for today’s game, and knew they wouldn’t walk away with a loss.”

Messiah continued to dominate ball control in the second half, winning the shot battle 5-2, and with 20 minutes to play, the Falcons offense struck with the game’s only goal. Hershey – the Falcons’ leading goal scorer this season by a significant margin – took a pass from classmate Emily Hursh and shot it in for her 18th goal of the year.

“The ball was in front of the goalie and the girls were hitting it around for awhile," described Trapp. "Eventually (Emily) Hursh passed it quickly to Juliana, who was lying on her stomach when she shot the ball in.”

It was Hershey’s fifth consecutive game with a goal; she has scored 11 during that five-game span.

After Hershey’s goal, the defense still had to remain strong for the remaining 20 minutes. The Falcons limited the Blue Jays to just three shots on the whole day and most importantly, no points. It was the third straight team shutout for the Falcons, extending Messiah’s streak to 250 consecutive minutes without a goal, and the Falcons have now recorded shutouts in four of the past five games.

“Our defense today played very well,” Trapp said. “At any time today, Elizabethtown could have brought the ball down and scored, and we knew we had to play well. The midfielders and defenders played a great game. They really did a workman’s job.”

In goal, sophomores Kayleigh Stewart and Molly Gebrosky each chipped in a scoreless half, combining for three saves.

The Falcons have just a pair of conference games and three total regular-season games remaining before the Commonwealth playoffs begin. This Saturday’s game is a home contest with Messiah hosting Alvernia University.

Game time is 1:00 p.m.