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Falcons, Newly Ranked #1, Stung by #9 Hornets
For the second straight year, Messiah fell to Lynchburg College in a one-goal contest. The Falcons were ranked #1 in the most recent NFHCA poll.

By Cody Swartz, GoMessiah.com reporter
Shippensburg, PA –The Messiah Falcons (2-1) suffered a rare loss Tuesday night, as the No. 1 ranked Falcons were narrowly defeated by the No. 9 ranked Lynchburg Hornets (4-1). The Falcons dropped this one by a 2-1 score that was every bit as close as the score indicated, breaking Messiah’s streak of 12 straight regular season wins. For a Falcons team that has averaged just one loss in the regular season since 2008, it is quite a testament to the Hornets that they have now knocked off the Falcons twice in as many years, both by the same 2-1 score.

“We just need to focus on improving our game after this loss,” said Jan Trapp, Messiah’s head field hockey coach. “I think this was a wake-up call for us to get the No. 1 ranking earlier that morning and then play bad. There just wasn’t a spark on the field. The passion wasn’t there for us.”

Defense was the name of the game for these two teams early on, as the clubs battled to a 0-0 tie entering halftime. The Hornets controlled the ball primarily in the first 35 minutes, winning the shot advantage 8-5, but the stout Messiah defense didn’t let a goal in.

Shortly after the intermission, Lynchburg knocked one in to go up 1-0 against a Falcons team looking to avenge its last-season loss to the Hornets. “We knew their tendencies, went over their corners, and practiced their corners, but they still got this goal in,” Trapp said.

Senior Kourtney Ehly – last year’s leading goal scorer – tied the game at one apiece with a goal of her own at the 25:56 mark. Unfortunately for Messiah, it was their only score of the game, as the Hornets did a fine job of minimizing the shots for Trapp’s team.

“Looking at the tape, the forwards definitely weren’t in the right position,” Trapp said. “We were all glued to the goalie’s pads, and we needed to set up and get where we should be. They cut in front of us constantly.”

The Hornets jumped ahead with what proved to be the eventual game-winning score with ten minutes to play, and it was too much for the Falcons to overcome. Messiah threatened as the clock was winding down, registering a trifecta of penalty corners in the final minutes, but terrific defense from Lynchburg handed the Falcons just their third regular-season loss in the last four years.

“They challenged us, they pushed us, and they should be commended,” said assistant coach Brooke Good. “We struggled to produce and (Lynchburg) had a phenomenal defensive save with a few minutes to play. Their defense truly saved them.”

For the day, the Hornets outshot the Falcons 18-10. “Lynchburg beat us in every aspect of the game,” Trapp said. “They played faster, went to the ball harder, and the score could have been much worse than it was. There was no particular part of our game that went well. Last year, we played really well against (Lynchburg). This year, they were just in better condition than us.”

Messiah travels to Loretto, PA on Friday night for a matchup with Juanita College. Game time is set for 6 p.m.

“We will definitely use this loss as motivation for Juniata,” Good said. “We can learn from this. Really great teams show their greatness by how they react after a loss, and we just need to dissect this, analyze it, and set our sights on Juniata.”