Messiah Knocks off Second Straight Top 15 Opponent
By Cody Swartz, GoMessiah.com reporter
Messiah wasted no time jumping on the board in Saturday’s contest, as junior Emily Hursh scored off a penalty corner just 6:35 into the game, with sophomore Brooke Sands receiving the assist on the goal. The Profs tied the game just three minutes later, as senior Rachael Dix nailed a shot unassisted from the left side of the cage to knot the score at one-all.
From there, the two teams engaged in a bout of defense, as neither side could push across a goal for over 50 minutes of action. The Profs primarily controlled the field possession for the day, finishing with a 26-to-14 advantage in shots and 16-to-11 edge in penalty corners, but the Falcons’ defense stood tough. Sophomore Molly Gebrosky played the first half in goal, registering two saves, before giving way to classmate Kayleigh Stewart. Stewart made an astonishing nine second-half saves, and it was her strong defensive effort that helped to keep the Profs from taking the lead.
With fewer than ten minutes to play and the game still tied, Messiah erupted for two quick goals – first by freshman forward Celina Nissley and then immediately followed by junior forward Juliana Hershey. Nissley’s goal was the aftermath of a shot by Brooke Sands, as Sands’ shot was caromed back to Nissley, who knocked in the loose ball for the first score of her collegiate career. Hershey – who finished second on last year’s team with 18 goals scored – pushed in a loose ball in front of the cage to give Messiah a two-goal lead in a span of just 40 seconds.
The Profs threatened soon after, putting up a goal off a loose ball just 90 seconds later to cut Messiah’s lead to one goal, but the Falcons came right back with a goal of their own, as a pass from senior forward Kilee Rosenberry to Hershey iced the game. In the second half, the Falcons recorded just six shots, but three of those were goals, giving a testament to the efficiency of Messiah’s playing style.
The Falcons have now beaten the Profs three straight times since the ’08 playoffs, when the two teams squared off in a classic double overtime game that the Falcons won, 2-1.
Game time for Tuesday’s contest with the Hornets is at 7 p.m.