GRANTHAM, Pa. – Messiah freshman Holly Burgard’s first career goal on Saturday was a game-winner in the Falcons’ 5-0 win against MIT in the third round of the NCAA tournament. Senior Alex Brandt recorded two goals for the Falcons, with senior Elizabeth Phillips and junior Alicia Frey each adding a goal.
“It was an all-around good effort,” Messiah head coach Scott Frey said. “I think we had good speed of play, and we need to replicate it [Sunday].”
With the win, Messiah advanced into Sunday’s quarterfinal game against John Hopkins.
Playing MIT for the first time in its program’s history, Messiah grabbed a 1-0 lead in the 20th minute of play on a goal from Burgard. The assist went to Nikki Elsaesser, with Elsaesser placing a ball past the Engineers’ defense and into the center of the box. Running behind her defender from the right side, Burgard chipped the ball over keeper Meghan Wright and into the goal.
“[Holly Burgard] started well early in the season,” Frey said. “She was a little bit quiet after that, but she’s really come on well in the last few weeks. She can make things happen, and she’s done a great job.”
In the 31st minute, Phillips doubled the Falcons’ lead. Freshman Trisha Tshudy put a header on a cross from the left side, with Wright saving the attempt on the goal line. Her deflection landed at the feet of Phillips for the quick shot into the net.
“Liz [Phillips] has been finding ways to get into the box this year, and it’s been good to see,” Frey said. The goal was Phillips’ fifth of the season.
In the second half, Messiah scored three goals in a five-minute span to grab a commanding lead. Alicia Frey scored the Falcons’ third goal, a shot from 20 yards out in the midfield after the ball was headed out of the box by senior Stephanie Andrews. Fifty-eight seconds later, Alex Brandt sent home a free kick from the edge of the 18-yard line, a strike that was tipped by Wright before landing in the back of the net.
Two minutes later, Brandt again scored, this time off a hard strike from 23 yards out in the midfield to the top-left corner of the goal. Freshman Macaulay Soto assisted on Brandt’s second goal, as she led her teammate to the left side of the midfield for the goal.
“Alex [Brandt] had a great night,” Frey said. “She did a great job of breaking down their defense and creating great chances.
“We had a number of players play well… especially our bench,” Frey said. “Our second group really did good things for us.”
The loss ended MIT’s season at 14-4-3.
“It’s always exciting to play a team like Messiah, it’s a fun challenge,” MIT head coach Martin Desmarais said. “This is our winningest class ever, and this is a great finish to their careers.”
With the win, Messiah improved to 21-1-1.