Messiah advances in NCAA tourney with 3-0 defeat of Grove City
GRANTHAM, Pa. – Messiah scored twice in the first 14 minutes against Grove City on Sunday, earning a 3-0 win to move to the third round of the NCAA tournament.
Senior Anne Trapp opened the scoring, sending a powerful strike from 25 yards out in the midfield to the left side of the Wolverines' goal. The score was Trapp's second of the season.
Less than four minutes later, junior Emily Schneider put the Falcons up 2-0. The play started in the midfield with senior Alex Brandt chipping possession into the box for Nikki Elsaesser. Receiving the ball with her defender on her back, Elsaesser headed the ball to the left side of the box. Running in from behind the play, Schneider drilled the shot from five yards off the post and into the top of the net.
The pair of scores was the product of 11 total shots for Messiah in the first half, with at least a few other opportunities nearly resulting in additional goals for the Falcons.
“I think our wingers got behind them a little bit,” Messiah head coach Scott Frey said. “We did a good job of keeping the pressure on them to create some good chances.”
Grove City collected just two shots in the first half, their only attempts in the game. Neither of the shots went on goal.
In the second half, Messiah continued to hold possession in the Wolverines' territory, taking another nine shots in its attempts to increase their lead. In the 75th minute, the Falcons would break through once again.
Playing off a set play from 20 yards out, junior Alicia Frey placed a strike to the back of the net for the 3-0 advantage. The goal, Frey's 11th on the season, resulted from senior Alex Brandt being fouled on her approach toward Grove City's goal.
The foul on Brandt allowed Frey—who played defense for Messiah in the game after spending the season at the forward spot—a chance to put a clean shot on goal.
“We wanted to solidify things [defensively] tonight, and [Alicia] did a solid job of settling things down in the back for us,” Frey said of Alicia's move on the field. “Even with the move, we were still able to generate good chances up front. Our targets did a good job of playing out of the midfield.”
The Falcons almost added a fourth goal a few minutes later, with senior Stephanie Andrews sending a shot from 16 yards off the goal line just wide of the left post.
In the end, Messiah finished with a 3-0 win and a trip to into the tournament's second weekend—the 12th time in the past 13 years they've advanced as far.
The loss for the Wolverines ends their season at 16-4-2.
“This season was a roaring success,” head coach Melissa Lamie said. “We had unexpected success early on…and getting to the NCAAs was a big step to understanding where our program wants to be.”
For Messiah, the win moves them 20-1-1 and sets them up for a match-up with MIT.