Falcons' Fight, Steady Play Supports 1-0 Decision
Grantham, PA – For the second-straight year Messiah College and Arcadia University played to a 1-0 decision and, once again, it was a late score by the Falcons that proved to be the difference. Nikki Elsaesser did the honors on Tuesday night, sending home the game-winner in the 81st minute off combination passes from both Corinne Wulf and Holly Burgard.
The win moved Messiah to 15-2-1 overall and extended their Commonwealth Conference record to 8-0. Arcadia fell to 11-2-5 overall and 4-1-3 in the conference.
Elsaesser's goal came on one of a handful of great chances by Messiah, as the Falcons worked relentlessly throughout the game to break through the Knights' clogged midfield and back line. Burgard started the game-deciding play with a square pass from the right side to Wulf in the midfield. The senior let the ball roll to the left where she turned and placed a through ball into the box for Elsaesser. A quick, one-touch shot by the Falcons' leading goal scorer from 10 yards out went beyond the dive of Jackie Law and into the right side of the net.
The tally broke the scoreless tie and came on the Falcons' 19th and final shot of the night. Messiah finished with a 19-1 advantage in shots, seven of which went on frame. The Falcons' defense did much to contribute to the team's 14th shutout on the season as they held Kim Canfield and Lennon Kramer—first and third in the Commonwealth in points, respectively—to zero shots.
Nevertheless, the Knights' lone shot on the night proved dramatic. Melia Ochsner ran up to a ball near the top of the Falcons' defense in the 19th minute for a strike from 30 yards out that banged off the crossbar before being cleared away by Messiah.
Arcadia did their best to slow down the Falcons' conference-leading offense throughout the game, as they favored the defensive third of their field from the opening minutes. Messiah had only a few solid chances to get a goal in the first-half, perhaps none better than a shot by Marisa Weaver in the 38th minute. She ran through a cross on the left side before seeing her shot roll slowly out of the reach of Law, but also just wide of the right post.
In the second-half the Falcons started to create more opportunities. Burgard nearly tallied in the 57th minute with a bending strike from 25 yards out on the right side. Wulf also almost scored, taking an off-balance shot from 10 yards out in the 63rd minute that Law grabbed on the line.
The opportunities turned out to be a sign of things to come for the Falcons, as Burgard and Wulf both set up Elsaesser for the winner late in the game.
Messiah will look to remain unbeaten in the Commonwealth when they travel to Albright College on Saturday, Nov. 2 for a 5:30 game time.