Messiah rolls past Skidmore
Unbeaten Falcons await SUNY New Paltz in third round
GRANTHAM, Pa. -- Messiah continued its strong NCAA tournament play on Sunday as it defeated Skidmore to advance into the third round. Three different players scored goals for the Falcons, as Messiah followed up a 10-0 win on Saturday to oust the Thoroughbreds 3-0.
The Falcons, who took 44 shots en route to their 10-goal win against Elms in the first round, outshot Skidmore 15-2 in Sunday’s game. Skidmore, coming off its dramatic, 0-0 tie and 3-0 win in penalty kicks against MIT from Saturday, ended the season 13-7-1.
In just the 13th minute of play, Messiah would get on the board courtesy of junior Rachel Scheibeler. Senior Jess Shirk attacked inside the left wing, cutting along the end line on the left side before firing a shot on Skidmore keeper Meghan Sleezer. Sleezer would collect a save, but could not hold possession as the rebound bounced high into the air in front of the goal. Scheibeler, crashing in from the right side, put her head onto the ball and past Sleezer’s outstretched arms for the score.
“Scheib’s came in today and played great,” Messiah head coach Scott Frey said. “She had good energy, and played smart. The goal was great for her to get.”
The score would remain unchanged for much of the remainder of the first half, with Messiah working to break through the physical Skidmore defense.
“We knew we’d be well scouted, and they had a good plan,” Freysaid. “We had to break through offensively, and when we chances we took advantage of them.”
One of those chances came in the 39th minute, as Messiah would take a 2-0 lead on a goal by freshman Lauren Federline.
Senior Erin Hench, coming off a three-goal performance in Saturday’s win for the Falcons, took the ball deep into the left side of the Skidmore box before finding classmate Leah Sipe in the middle of the box. With the defense collapsing around her, Sipe slotted the ball through to the right side for Federline and a quick strike past Sleezer.
The score gave the Falcons a 2-0 lead they would take into halftime.
“We had good movement from our midfield and our forwards,” Frey said. “Our back row was great again, and helped us keep the pressure moving up the field.”
Messiah’s third and final goal would be scored just 15 minutes into the second half.
Senior Lisa Wingard attacked inside the right wing, cutting through the Thoroughbreds' defense before lofting a cross to the middle of the box. With Sleezer moving off the goal line and reaching with arms extended, Sipe arrived first for a header, putting a liner high into the center of the goal for the commanding 3-0 lead.
“We wanted to score early,” Sipe said. “We talked at halftime about getting one more goal to keep the pressure on, and Lisa put a great cross into the box. We’re playing well right now.”
The win moves Messiah to 19-0-1 on the season, with its lone blemish being to No. 2 William Smith.
“They play good teams, including William Smith,” Frey said. “They played good physical socce today, and they know how to play hard. We knew it would be a tough game, and they made us earn it.”
“It’s been a long journey for us,” Skidmore head coach Lacey Largeteau said. “We knew Messiah and William Smith would be similar opponents, and we’ve played William Smith well in the past. We knew we could compete at this level. To get to this game, it’s great for our program and a great legacy for our seniors to leave.”
The Falcons will play SUNY New Paltz in its next game.
“This was a good day, and a good weekend,” Frey said. “Now we have to get better for what will come next.”