No. 1 Falcons Victorious in Season Opener
Grantham, PA – On a sunny season opener in central Pennsylvania, the Messiah College Falcons defeated the Covenant College Scots 4-0 behind goals from four different players. The Falcons, ranked No. 1 in the NSCAA Preseason Top 25 Poll, remained undefeated for a 25th consecutive decision following last season's run to the NCAA Division III National Championship.
The Falcons seemed to overmatch the Scots from the beginning whistle, with their first half possession remaining in the attacking third for all but a dozen plays through the back row. With Covenant working to prevent any clear opportunities for Messiah's attack, the Falcons' Alex Brandt, Corinne Wulf and other forwards consistently found a crowed box up the field.
Though the Falcons were able to launch a few quality looks early, the Scots' Hannah Bates managed to collect a few impressive saves to keep the game scoreless.
Undeterred, Brandt would open the season's scoring in the 17th minute of play. The Falcons third-leading scorer from a year ago controlled a broken possession at the right-hand corner of the 18-yard line before crossing middle. After quickly weaving through a pair of defenders, her left-footed strike found sailed past Bates and into the net. Just minutes earlier, Brandt's shot from the same spot hit the crossbar— this time, her shot gave Messiah a 1-0 lead.
Now down 1-0, the Scots began to be worn down by Messiah's offensive pressure. Sophomore Lauren Federline tallied Messiah's second goal in the 30th minute, taking a shot from almost the same spot as Brandt for an unassisted score. Less than seven minutes later, freshman Kyele Bridel scored her first collegiate goal to give Messiah a 3-0 lead. Federline collected the assist on Bridel's score.
After taking a 3-0 lead into the intermission, junior Alicia Frey closed out the scoring off a set play from 25-yards out on the left side of the field.
In total, the Falcons launched 25 shots against zero for the Scots. Messiah also took 12 corner kicks, with Covenant attempting none. Bates collected six saves for the visitors, while the Falcons' Audra Larson recorded a shutout in her collegiate game in goal.
The Falcons will turn around quickly and host No. 6 Emory University on Saturday at 1:00 p.m. The game will the first of three-straight games for the Falcons against teams ranked in the top six in the NSCAA Top 25 poll.