Falcons Score Early, Often For Commonwealth Title
Grantham, PA – Messiah College women's soccer scored seven goal on Sunday in the Commonwealth Championship, defeating Stevenson University 7-0 to win the program's sixth-straight conference title. With the win, the Falcons also earned their 12th Commonwealth Championship in the past 13 years. Ranked No. 1 in the NSCAA Top 25 Poll, Messiah advances into the NCAA Championships Tournament for the 13th-straight season.
On Sunday, Messiah earned the conference title by way of its largest margin in program history. Facing Commonwealth newcomer Stevenson University—the tournament's No. 2 seed after a 6-1-2 season—the Falcons scored three goals in the first half before adding four more in the final 45 minutes. Junior Alicia Frey scored the game's first two goals, while senior Rachel Scheibeler collected a goal and an assist en route to being name the tournament's Most Valuable Player.
"It was a good effort by the girls, they played well today," Messiah head coach Scott Frey said. "Hopefully we're peaking at the right time."
Frey's first score broke the scoreless tie just 12:44 into the game, as she received a feed through the middle of the field from Ashley Locke and turned right toward the corner of the 18-yard line. Twenty-five yards out from the goal, Frey tucked her shot inside left goalpost.
Just over three minute later, Frey put Messiah up 2-0 after being served a ball in the middle of the box from Scheibeler. The play was initiated by a throw in from freshman Holly Burgard, as she led Scheibeler down the right sideline for the cross to Frey's run to the goal.
The two goals for the Falcons came quick, and may have partially been the consequence of Stevenson's early pressure up the field; from the starting whistle, the Mustangs pushed with their attack in hopes of creating an early opportunity to steal a goal against Messiah.
"We talked about getting through the first ten minutes, because we expected their pressure," Frey said. "It was important for us to handle the pressure, and then see if they could sustain it."
Though the Mustangs did attempt to sustain their pressure, it did little to stop the Falcons. They added a third goal in the 38th minute as Mackenzie Clapper received a pass across the 18-yard line from Kyele Bridel for the touch and shot over keeper Allison Johnson. Clapper's shot was one of 11 in the half for Messiah, as they went on to outshoot the Mustangs 24-7 in the game.
In the second half Messiah added four more goals, with Scheibeler and classmate Alex Brandt both scoring off assists from freshman Nikki Elsaesser.
Freshmen Carly Schaefer and Macaulay Soto completed the scoring with unassisted goals in the 86th and 87th minutes, respectively. Schaefer's goal was especially impressive, as she tucked a free kick from 28 yards out into the right side of the goal.
"We weren't sure what she was going to do from that far out," Frey said with a smile. "But she knew what to do with it. Wow."
"We got after the second group at the half a bit," Frey added, commenting on his encouragement to his substitutes to raise their level of play. "We told them that they need to do something positive for us, and they came out and made good things happen."
"I think we had a lot of girls play well today," Frey said, pointing out that Elizabeth Phillips and Anne Trapp have provided great leadership for a defensive unit that conceded just five goals all year.
With the loss, Stevenson University falls to 12-5-3. Messiah moves to 18-1-1 on the season and will look forward to competing in the NCAA Championships. The Falcons will enter the tournament as the No. 1 ranked team for the fifth-straight season.
Messiah's seeding in the upcoming tournament—which is to start on Saturday, Nov. 10—will be released in the NCAA Selection Show on Monday, Nov. 5. Fans are encouraged to visit GoMessiah.com to find the link for the show.