Falcons Stay Undefeated In Commonwealth Conference
By Cody Swartz, Gomessiah.com Reporter
In all, the Messiah Falcons (11-3, 5-0) recorded their fourth consecutive shutout in Saturday’s home conference game, outlasting Alvernia University (10-6, 3-2) by a 4-0 score. It was the sixth straight overall win for the No. 9 ranked Falcons, keeping Messiah undefeated in conference play.
The Falcons – who have defeated Alvernia four straight times now in the last three years – scored two goals in the first half and two in the second, while taking advantage of a strong defensive effort for 70 minutes.
“The defense has started to be really aggressive and they’re confident with each other now,” said Jan Trapp, Messiah’s head coach. “The players know that they can go on this person and the other players have their back. As one of my freshman players said to me, the girls are more proactive and less reactive than they’ve been.”
Junior Emily Hursh started the scoring with an unassisted goal just over 22 minutes into the game, taking a shot that rebounded off the goalkeeper and sending it into the net for her sixth goal of the season. Rosenberry followed with a goal of her own at the 28:40 mark, her goal was also unassisted.
The Falcons took a 2-0 lead into halftime and didn’t let up. For the day, Messiah dominated ball control, winning the advantage in shots 23-10 and the penalty corners 11-6. “I thought the offense played well today,” Trapp said. “They were in the circle and taking multiple shots, not just one. They put a lot of pressure on the goalkeeper and have really started to develop as a unit.”
Consecutive goals by Ehly – a two-time NCAA All-American forward – iced the game, giving Messiah its 37th straight win on its home Anderson Field.
“The seniors have been great for this team all year,” Trapp said. “The seniors have been leaders and they’ve played well, and they had a great Senior Day. We’ve just had really great camaraderie this whole year.”
Not to be forgotten was the stellar play of sophomore goalie Kayleigh Stewart. Stewart played all 70 minutes in goal, recording a season-high seven saves in goal. For the year, Stewart leads the Falcons with 38 saves in goal.
“Kayleigh (Stewart) played wonderful for us,” Trapp said. “(Alvernia) had the first fast break anyone has had on us this year, and it was just a one-on-one straight against Kayleigh. She kept her composure and waited for the defense to catch up, and just made a wonderful overall play. You never know what one goal can do in terms of momentum, and Alvernia is a good team that has given a lot of good teams trouble.”
The Falcons play just one more week of regular-season contests before the postseason starts. On Tuesday, Messiah travels to Reading, PA to take on Albright College in the final Commonwealth Conference game of the regular season.