GRANTHAM, PA – Messiah freshman Trisha Tshudy broke a one-goal tie in the 77th minute of play on Saturday, propelling the Falcons to a 2-1 win against Roger Williams in the first round of the NCAA Championships.
Tshudy’s goal came on a scramble in the box after a corner kick by the Falcons. Regina Stump served the corner into the box, where it was headed to the goal by Macaulay Soto and blocked by the Hawks’ defense before Tshudy kicked it in.
The goal was Tshudy’s fourth of the season, and first since Messiah’s 3-0 win against Muhlenberg on Sept. 12.
Tshudy’s game-winner moves Messiah into the second round where they will face Grove City. The Wolverines defeated Western Connecticut State in Saturday’s second game 2-1 in overtime.
In Saturday’s first round game, the Falcons earned the win after seeing a 1-0 lead turn into a one-goal tie at halftime. Messiah’s score came on an own goal by the Hawks’ Megan Hoover, as she attempted to clear a cross into the box off the foot of Messiah senior Rachel Scheibeler. But Hoover’s strike did not land cleanly, as the ball slanted behind her and past keeper Stephanie Jaques to the left side of the goal.
Though the score put Messiah up 1-0 in the 24th minute, the game remained tight, as Roger Williams kept their backfield crowded while being selective in their attack; only Mariah Kaiser and Haley Carigan were consistently roaming ahead for the Hawks, awaiting a chance to push against the Falcons’ defense.
Less than 10 minutes after going down 1-0, they found the chance they were looking for.
The Falcons seemed poised to take a 2-0 lead when freshman Nikki Elsaesser was played a ball in the right side of the box. Her shot from 15 yards out was blocked, with the ball bounding across the 18-yard line where sophomore Mackenzie Clapper was running from the left side. Clapper’s shot was also blocked, with the Hawks quickly regaining possession 25 yards out from the goal. Jessica Reade dribbled the ball up the field and, with Messiah still pushed up on their attack, found freshman Mariah Kaiser over the midfield against the run of play.
Kaiser drove down the field as Messiah defenders Elizabeth Phillips and Ali Rogers tried to push her outside. But Kaiser managed to attack into the Falcons’ penalty box, placing a shot from the left side across to the far post, just outside the reach of Messiah keeper Audra Larson and into the right edge of the goal.
Though the goal energized the Hawks, Messiah had a chance to take regain the lead just minutes later. Tshudy was fouled on the left side of the field, just outside the penalty box, to set up an indirect kick. Phillips’ serve to the far post was played into the air by Soto, but her redirect to the front of the goal came after the ball passed out of bounds.
The Falcons and Hawks would enter the intermission tied at one. The Falcons took just two shots in the first half, with the Hawks making good on their only attempt. The Falcons took 19 shots in the second half, including Tshudy’s game-winner.
Up 2-1, the Falcons continued to maintain possession as the clock counted down. The Hawks’ last great attempt at another chance to tie the game came with less than six minutes to play, as Kaiser stripped Messiah defender Anne Trapp of her possession near the midfield line. However, Kaiser’s attack to the right edge of the 18-yard line was stopped by Phillips, as the senior defender stole possession back before a shot could be taken.
In total, Messiah held the Hawks to just one shot in the second half.