Women’s Soccer Falls in NCAA Sectional to #6 Messiah

Caitlin Magruder in action against Messiah (photo courtesy of Kris Dufour).
Caitlin Magruder in action against Messiah (photo courtesy of Kris Dufour).

Three second-half goals lifted #6 Messiah to a 3-0 victory over Middlebury during NCAA Tournament Sectional action Saturday afternoon on Williams’ Cole Field. Messiah defeated the third-ranked Ephs by a 4-1 count on Sunday and advanced to the national semifinals. Middlebury finishes it season with a record of 15-5-0.

Messiah looked to get on the scoreboard in the second minute when a Middlebury handball in the penalty area gave the Falcons a penalty kick. Marissa Weaver stepped toward the ball, sending a left-footed shot which curled and hit the crossbar squarely over the hand of Middlebury rookie goalkeeper Ursula Alwang (Weston, Conn.) and bounced away.

In the 38th minute, a left-footed shot by Brooke Firestone was saved by Ulwang, as a rebound squirted toward a charging Lilly Shover. Ulwang was again up for the task, laying out to her right to deny Shover. Messiah outshot Middlebury by an 8-0 count in the opening half.

After the break, the Falcons got on the board in the 48th minute. As a part of a corner kick, Messiah’s Olivia Snare sent a curling ball into the box toward the Panther goal. The official on the goal line ruled that Ulwang touched the attempt while behind the line, giving the Falcons a 1-0 advantage at 47:34.

Messiah doubled its lead a little more than eight minutes later. DJ Cole sent a lofting pass toward the offensive third to Weaver, who corralled the ball for the Falcons. She touched the ball to her right foot, ripping a shot just inside the penalty area past a diving Ulwang.

The Falcons made it a 3-0 score at the 63:15 mark when Skylar Ulry sent a cross from the right to the feet of Kate Shults, who one-touched it just inside the near post.

Turning up the offensive pressure in the final minutes, senior Adrianna Gildner (Woodinville, Wash.) recorded Middlebury’s initial shot on goal in the 82nd minute, a right-footed blast that was saved by Messiah goalie Sara Yunez.

Alwang recorded a pair of saves in front of the Panther goal, while Yunez finished with a save for the Falcons. Messiah held a 13-3 advantage in shots and a 4-1 edge in corner kicks.

• Season Complete