Messiah Advances To Commonwealth Finals In Win Over Lycoming
The Falcons defeated Lycoming College 3-0 (25-12, 25-23, 25-17) to advance to the first Commonwealth Championship final in program history.
Playing as the #1 seed in this year's conference tournament, the Falcons followed up their first-ever undefeated Commonwealth season (7-0) by winning the first playoff game ever held in Brubaker Auditorium.
"We're all focused on the same thing," said Messiah sophomore Jess Geib, who collected a game-high 26 assists in Wednesday's win. "We're all playing for God, using our abilities to play our best. We know this year is the year to win (the conference)."
In the victory over the Warriors, Messiah was led by Geib and junior Lauren Rees, who collected a game-high 12 kills. Senior Megan Wise added 11 digs in a strong defensive showing. Junior Lindsay King, perhaps an underrated weapon of the Falcons, collected seven kills.
Overall, the Falcons had seven players collect kills and eight players collected digs.
The win was eerily similar to Messiah's 3-0 win over Lycoming from earlier in the season: a balanced team effort and consistent play in the defensive and offensive play.
"I think we played well tonight," said Geib. "It would have been easy to come into the game remembering what happened last time we played (Lycoming), but we knew we had to play well no matter who the opponent was."
"We really play well together," reflected Rees, who has been near the top of total kills in the Commonwealth all season. "The communication we have on the court starts off the court, and we know each other really well because of it."
The Falcons, who held Lycoming to a collective .047 attack percentage on Wednesday, advances to the conference finals on Saturday, November 5. The team will be opposed by Lebanon Valley, who defeated Widener 3-2 (26-24, 24-26, 11-25, 26-24, 15-13) in the other semifinal game.
"We're focusing right now on getting into the NCAA Tournament," said Messiah head coach Judi Tobias. "Winning the conference will give us the automatic bid."
A win for the Falcons on Saturday would give them a conference championship- their first, of course, in program history.
"It's new for our program to get to this point, and we want to get further," added Tobias, in her 16th year with the Falcons. "The (Messiah) players are great, they work together and they're focused. We know that Saturday will be a great opportunity for us, and we're excited."
The Commonwealth Championship finals will be played in Messiah's Brubaker Auditorium at 7:00 p.m. Admission costs are $5.00 for adults, $4.00 for senior citizens, and $2.00 for students.