Wheaton College falls to Messiah, 3-1 in National Championship Match
San Antonio, Texas – The Wheaton College women's soccer team had its season ended on Saturday in the final match of the 2011 season for all of NCAA Division III soccer. Messiah College rallied to defeat the Thunder 3-1 in the NCAA Division III Women's Soccer Championship Match. Wheaton ends the year with a 23-2-2 overall record and a second second-place finish in Division III. Messiah wins the Title with a 23-0-1 record for the 2011 season.
Just seven minutes into the match, Wheaton converted its best opportunity for the early moments of the contest. The Thunder worked the ball in front of the Messiah net. A pass by Val Lelle (Arlington Heights, Ill./Wheeling) went to senior Katelyn Kishkunas (Glenview, Ill./Glenbrook South), whose pass from about 10 yards out was deftly served to freshman Anna Seabolt (Holland, Mich./Holland Christian) facing the net on the left side of the goal. Seabolt put a long arcing header into the opposite side of the goal to give the Thunder a 1-0 lead. Messiah's Erin Hench converted a cross with a header into the net to tie the match at 1-1 in the 15th minute. Both teams battled for momentum for the remaining 30 minutes with a 1-1 tie at the halftime intermission.
An initial shot in the 60th minute by Hench in front of the goal was saved by Thunder goalkeeper Hilary Barreto, (Perris, Claif./Woodcrest Christian) but Hench collected the deflection and blasted the ball into the net to give the Falcons a 2-1 lead. A pass by Messiah's Alex Brandt went to Hench who found Hannah Weyland for a header that went into the goal to extend the Falcons' lead to 3-1 in the 68th minute.
Following a first half that saw each team take three shots, the Falcons out-shot the Thunder 11-5 in the second half with a 14-8 advantage for Messiah in the match. Wheaton netminder Kelsey Graham (Wheaton, Ill./Wheaton-Warrenville South) played in net for the first half. Baretto played the second half, making six saves. Messiah keeper Aumtumn Reilly made four saves for the Falcons. Wheaton had four representatives named to the All-Tournament team with Kishkunas, Orewiler, Seabolt and Esther Tan (Ridgefield, Conn./Ridgefield) each earning a selection.
Thunder head coach Pete Felske said of today's game, "Give all the credit to Messiah, I think they are the better team. We can play with them and it was nice to get the good start. However, our styles are contrasting styles and with the way we play, if we make mistakes we know we are going to pay for them." Felske added, "They are a great squad and very well coached. You can't make mistakes against them and that is what we did."
Today's contest was the final match for Wheaton's senior class, a group that compiled a four-year record of 82-12-8, with two NCAA Semifinal appearances to their credit. Orewiler said of concluding her career with her fellow seniors, "Getting to the National Championship Game was a great way to end the season." She added, "It has been a great four years."