Falcons Meet Old Rival, Deliver Familiar Blow
In another chapter of the heated field hockey rivalry between Messiah College and Lebanon Valley College, the Falcons came away with a thrilling 5-1 victory. Messiah, ranked #3 in the most recent Kookaburra/NFHCA Top 25 poll, moved to 1-0 in the Commonwealth Conference while simultaneously dropping LVC to 0-1.
The contest was the annual regular season meeting between the fierce rivals. Anticipation for the match-up was high following last year’s overtime victory by the Falcons while LVC and Messiah held national ranks of #1 and #2, respectively. Messiah would also defeated LVC in the Commonwealth Championship of 2010.
On Saturday, the victory was just as sweet.
“LVC is always a big game,” said Messiah head coach Jan Trapp. “The winner of this game often has home field advantage for the (conference) championship, and that is the difference between grass and turf. We’ll always prefer our home field, and turf.”
That preference was on full display in Saturday’s win, even though LVC would tally the first score. The goal, scored by Dutchmen senior Jocelyn Novak in the 11th minute of action, was a milestone for Novak as it was the 111th goal of her career. The mark tied Novak for first all-time in career goals scored in the Middle Atlantic Conference and Commonwealth Conference. Ironically, Novak tied a former Messiah player, Danae Chambers ’04.
From that point, however, the Falcons would take over. Sophomore Brook Sands would find junior Juliana Hershey for the game-tying goal in the 24th minute. It was Hershey’s team-leading fourth goal of the season, and set up an unassisted goal by senior Kourtney Ehly just three minutes later. The goal, Ehly’s third of the year, resulted from a solo drive from the center circle.
The game-winner by Ehly proved to be momentous, as the Falcons would score three more goals in the second half to claim the convincing 5-1 win. Two of the three goals would be assisted by Ehly, contributing to her team-leading five assists this season. Sands, senior Kilee Rosenberry, and senior Dara Downs would score the goals, with Sands tying Hershey for the lead in goals scored this year.
For the Falcons, the win couldn’t come at a better time. The team had lost two of three coming into the game, with a recent 3-1 loss to Salisbury still in their memory.
“We had been struggling, trying to work with different combinations on the field,” said Trapp, in her 39th year leading the Falcons. “We didn’t play well against Salisbury, and we knew that. So to show up today and bring it all together on our home field, against LVC—we couldn’t ask for more.”
With the team feeling inspired by their win, perhaps Trapp may only ask for more of the same.
“I feel like we’re a playoff team, and I feel like we have a team that can go deep in playoffs. We just have to keep up the intensity. We’ve been getting great contributions from our substitutions, which is how we want to play…keeping the pressure on. I’m excited for what this team can do.”