At the top of their games
|Messiah College made national headlines and NCAA history when both men's and women's soccer teams won national titles this season.
Messiah College’s recent double soccer championships have made national headlines, and the College’s other sports teams have consistently ranked among the elite in Division III. Here’s a look at Messiah’s latest achievements and the program behind the College’s continued athletic successes.
More than 1,000 college soccer fans witnessed the winning goal at the 2005 NCAA Division III women’s soccer final in Greensboro, North Carolina. And few will likely forget it.
With the score between Messiah College and The College of New Jersey at 0–0, and twenty minutes remaining in the game, Messiah first-year communications major Rachel Horning performed a throw-in, starting with a handspring on top of the soccer ball, which she then propelled 35 yards to Messiah senior Billie Jo Atkins. Standing within the six-yard box, Atkins then headed the ball into the net, effecting a 1–0 win for Messiah. “At first I was shocked it went in—and then so excited,” recalls Atkins, a health and physical education major.
A few hours later, at the men’s NCAA final, Messiah College won again, and for the first time in NCAA history, one college claimed both national championship titles for soccer in the same year.
Messiah’s dual soccer championships attracted national media attention by ESPN, College Sports TV, Sports Illustrated, and USA Today. Both teams finished the 2005 season undefeated and entered the NCAA championships ranked number one in the nation. The women were making their sixth NCAA appearance, and the men, in their ninth straight NCAA appearance, were claiming the national championship title for the second year in a row, and for the fourth time in six years.
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