Messiah, Misericorida Play to Draw on Cougars' Turf
Grantham, PA – A highly anticipated match-up between Messiah College and Misercorida provided all that was expected on Saturday—that is, except a clear winner. The Falcons and Cougars played through 110 minutes to finish with a 0-0 draw, despite Messiah owning the territory battle and outshooting their hosts 34-7. The Falcons end the day at 5-2-1; the Cougars fall to 6-0-1.
Messiah's defense held the high-scoring Cougars to just seven total shots, with Audra Larson collecting two saves in goal. Her first save came on the Cougars' first shot just 1:37 into the game, with the Falcons quickly countering to launch three shots of their own in a two-minute span shortly thereafter.
The Falcons launched 17 total shots in the first-half, with many of them grouped in short stretches as they worked through the Cougars' defense. Misericordia keeper Maureen Ciccosanti made four saves in the first-half, including two in a two-minute stretch just before halftime.
The shots would continue for Messiah after the break, with Nikki Elsaesser coming close to breaking the tie with a header off the post in the 49th minute. As the Falcons kept the pressure on, the Cougars' Erin McGreal countered with her first-and-only shot wide in the 62nd minute; McGreal entered the game as Misericordia's leading scorer with seven goals and 15 points.
With the second-half clock winding down, Elsaesser again almost put in the game-winner, this time with a shot off the crossbar in the 88th minute. Ciccosanti then saved an ensuing shot by Elsaesser on the line.
The first overtime started ominously for the Falcons, as the Cougars launched two corner kicks in the first 90 seconds. After bringing the ball back up the field, Messiah managed two more shots—both by Trisha Tshudy—in the final minutes before the horn sounded.
The drama continued for the final 10 minutes, with Elsaesser again hitting the crossbar (105th minute) before Macaulay Soto saw her shot saved by Ciccosanti with just 90 seconds remaining.
Elsaesser and Soto each launched seven shots, with Elsaesser hitting the post or crossbar three times.
For Messiah and Misericordia—opponents in last year's NCAA Semifinal—the draw is the first-ever between them. The Falcons now hold an all-time record of 3-0-1 against the Cougars.
Messiah will next play on Tuesday, Sept. 24 when they travel to Carlisle, Pa., to take on the Red Devils of Dickinson College. Game time is scheduled for 7:00 p.m.