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#1 Messiah Hands #3 Williams First Loss, Improves to 4-0-1
Messiah senior Autumn Reilly, center, completed her 5th shoutout of 2011 in the Falcons' 1-0 win on Saturday.

North Adams, MA – For the second consecutive Saturday this month, the Falcons of Messiah traveled up towards the Northeast for a contest against a top-5 team. This time, they came away with the win.

Freshman Mackenzie Clapper scored off an assist from senior Erin Hench in a 1-0 win over Williams College on Saturday, improving the Falcons to 4-0-1 on the season. Coming into the game, Messiah was ranked #1 in both the latest D3Soccer.com and NSCAA Top 25 polls, respectively. Williams was ranked #3, falling to 2-1 with the loss. Messiah’s lone tie (scoreless) came a week ago against #2 William Smith.

Messiah came out on Saturday with immediate pressure, with Williams goalie Hannah Van Wetter making a diving save on a header by senior Leah Sipe at the 5:00 mark.

A few minutes later, Van Wetter wouldn’t be so fortunate.

At the start of the 9th minute, Hench saved the ball on the Ephs’ right goal line, completing a quick cross to the middle of the box where Clapper made a strike past the opposing goalie for a 1-0 lead. It proved to the difference in a hard-fought match between the two teams.

Falcon keeper senior Autumn Riley made six saves in the game, including a save on near shot by the Ephs at the end of the first half.

In the second half, the net continued to be unattainable for both teams as Hench would hit the crossbar in the 47th minute and Reilly would foil back-to-back attempts by Williams a few minutes later. The Ephs best opportunity for the tie may have come with just under 25:00 to play, as senior Brett Eisenhart would get a clear look at the net from right side of the box. Reilly, though, would again make a save to knock the ball out of bounds before it entered the goal.

While both teams fought hard to the final seconds, the Falcons’ speedy play would allow for consistent possession and the preserved win. The shutout was Reilly’s fifth on the season.

Messiah finishes their three-game road trip 2-0-1, with wins against Williams and Muhlenberg (5-0 final) and the scoreless tie with William Smith. The top-ranked Falcons will now return to Grantham for a match with York College (Pa.) on Wednesday, September 21. Game time is set for 7:00 p.m. on Shoemaker Field.