#2 Messiah Makes a Long Night Short For DeSales
Grantham, PA — With the stands full at Shoemaker Field on Saturday night, DeSales senior Derek Long gave the Bulldogs a 1-0 lead just six minutes into the game. It was Long’s fifth goal of the season, and third against Messiah in the last two years. “Upset” had to be on the visitor’s minds.
On the minds of the Falcons? “Enough.”
The Messiah men’s soccer team, ranked #2 in the most recent D3Soccer.com and NSCAA Top 25 polls, scored three unanswered goals after Long’s score to come away with a 3-1 victory. The game, played in front of over 3,600 fans on Family Weekend at Messiah College, moved the Falcons to 5-0-1 on the season. The Bulldogs fell to 3-2-1.
After Long’s goal, headed in on the near post off a long throw, silenced a rowdy crowd, sophomore Aaron Myers woke everyone back up with a game-tying shot in the 13th minute. Myers received a through ball to the left side from senior Danny Thompson and put the ball on the ground to the far post. Myers’ shot eluded Bulldog keeper Mike Thompson who was closing out on the play.
“We didn’t do anything differently after Long scored their goal,” said Messiah head coach Brad McCarty. “We practiced against their long throw-in, but they managed to get something off it anyway. I was pleased that our guys responded—we love game-tying goals.”
Though Messiah would keep a relentless attack on the Bulldog defense throughout the remainder of the first frame, the score would remained knotted at 1-1 at intermission. Messiah launched 18 shots in the first half to DeSales’ four.
In the second half, Messiah’s attack continued. The Falcons would take an additional 19 shots, totaling a startling 37 shots for the game.
Two of the shots in the second half would find the net, both unassisted.
In the 73rd minute freshman Mike Kovach dribbled down the right sideline, cutting in on the goal line and finding himself one-on-one with the keeper. His shot was fired low and to the keeper’s left, finding the goal just inside the far post.
A few minutes later, freshman Jack Thompson found himself in the box corralling a long volley from the right wing. After a quick first touch, his strike put the ball past the diving keeper and to the left side of the net.
Thompson’s goal increased the Falcon lead to 3-1, where it would finish. The final tally seemed somewhat deceptive considering Messiah’s 37 shots were 30 more than their opponent.
“We created good rhythm in the midfield tonight,” said McCarty, reflecting on his team’s relentless attac. “For us, we want to create scoring opportunities and finish on those opportunities. We were glad to finish a few of them tonight.”
At the center of those scoring opportunities, again, were players named Thompson. Elder brother Danny’s assist gave him his 10th point on the season, while Jack’s goal was the second in his young career. Jack is second to Danny in points (6), and leads Messiah with 28 shots in 2011.
“Jack is talented, athletic, and fun to watch,” noted McCarty. “He has a lot of upside and will continue to get better. He’s a great kid, too.” Messiah completes their four-game home stand a perfect 4-0, rebounding from a 1-1 tie with Hiram College in their second game of the season.
The Falcons next play on Tuesday, September 20, when they travel down the road to Dickinson College. Game time is set for 6:00 p.m.