Messiah wins back-to-back titles as Falcons handle Emory 1-0
SAN ANTONIO -- Messiah successfully defended its NCAA Division III Women's Soccer Championship by edging Emory 1-0 Saturday at Blossom Soccer Stadium.
Messiah's goal came in the 21st minute as senior midfielder Rachel Scheibeler scored on an assist from Alex Brandt, also a senior midfielder.
It marked the fifth NCAA Championship for Messiah, along with coach Scott Frey, and fourth in the last five seasons. The Falcons, who beat Wheaton (Ill.) 3-1 in last year's championship game, also played in their sixth consecutive final.
"I work with the most unbelievable young women women who are committed, not only to soccer, but to each other," Frey said. "The bond is the relationships, and the faith in Christ. It's hard to explain, but they are so accountable to one another. They would never dream of letting each other down. That's the reality."
The Messiah men captured their ninth NCAA title earlier in the day with a 5-1 victory against Ohio Northern.
Messiah completed the season with a 24-1-1 record, with its only loss coming to Emory (2-1, OT) on Sept. 1. The Falcons were propelled into the final with a 3-0 shutout over 10th-ranked Misericordia, also from Pennsylvania. Emory, which upset No. 11 Wheaton (Ill.) 2-1 in the semifinals, wrapped up the year with a 15-2-7 record. It was also the Eagles first foray into the Final Four event.
"We were playing scared the first half," Emory coach Sue Patberg said. "We never settle into the game. It's so hard to get here, and you have to be reslient. I am incredibly pround of them."
The game was close on all counts. Emory led 13-12 in total shots, while Messiah took a 4-3 nod in shots on goal. Falcons goalkeeper Audra Larson registered three saves, while Emory's Kaele Leonard had two. Eagles keeper Erica Stein also had a save in the game played before 437 fans.