Dec. 5, 2008

Courtesy William Smith Athletics

GREENSBORO, N.C.--The William Smith College soccer team fell to Messiah 3-0 in the NCAA Division III Women's Soccer Tournament semifinal tonight at MacPherson Stadium. The fifth-ranked Herons end their season with a 16-2-5 overall record, while the second-ranked Falcons improve to 23-0-2 and advance to the championship match.

"Messiah is a great team," said William Smith head coach Aliceann Wilber. "This was a great experience and we learned a lot. We are proud of the team and what they've accomplished this season."

Messiah put its first goal on the board 34 minutes, 22 seconds into the match, as Erin Hench blasted an 18-yard shot from the left side of the William Smith goal. The shot went just right of first-year goalkeeper Amanda Davis (Roxbury/Succasunna, N.J.), and into the back right corner of the net to give the Falcons a 1-0 advantage at halftime.

Late in the second half, Messiah added to its lead. In the 69th minute, Katlyn Musser found Amanda Naeher for the hard shot from 15 yards out. Davis dove and got a piece of the ball, but could not make the save. The Falcons scored again in the 80th minute; this time it was Kacie Klynstra with the boot from 16 yards.

The Herons had a few opportunities of their own to score. The best chance came at the 26 minute mark, when first-year midfielder Sarah Tarantino (East Aurora/East Aurora, N.Y.) broke away from the Messiah defense for a one-on-one shot with Falcon goalie Brindley Beckwith. Beckwith came out to challenge, deflecting Tarantino's shot into the air, and allowing the Messiah defense to recover and clear the ball before Tarantino could try again.

Tarantino came close again, nearly connecting with a header from sophomore forward Brelynn Nasypany (Herkimer/Herkimer, N.Y.) with just over four minutes to play in the first half, but just missed getting the shot off. Later, at the 55:33 mark, first-year forward Kate Redmond (Bernard/Bernardsville, N.J.) ripped a shot from 25 yards that skimmed over the crossbar.

The William Smith defense played an outstanding match, backed by seven saves from Davis. The unit recorded two team saves, including one by senior Ali Art (Herricks/Manhasset Hills, N.Y.) in the 58th minute.

The Falcons will play Wheaton (Ill.) for the national championship tomorrow at 5 p.m.