Courtesy of Trinity Sports Information
MECHANICSBURG, Pa. – TheTrinity College field hockey team fell to Messiah College, 5-0, on Sunday afternoon in the quarterfinals of the NCAA Tournament at Anderson Field on Messiah's campus in Mechanicsburg, Pa. The Bantams, who reached the quarterfinals of the tournament for the first time since 2009, end their season with a 14-7 record while Messiah improves to 21-0 and advances to the Final Four for the second-straight year and the 16th time overall.
The Falcons struck first with 27:55 showing on the scoreboard in the first half after working the ball deep into Trinity's zone. Kezia Loht sent a pass to Carissa Gehman who fired a shot on goal that hit off a stick and redirected past Trinity goalie Lori Berger for the early 1-0 lead. Messiah had another scoring chance just a few minutes later, earning a penalty corner, but a shot off the stick of Gehman was blocked by Bantam Madison Guiffre to keep the deficit at 1-0.
Kristin Donohue (Holland, Pa.) gave the hosts a 2-0 advantage 16 minutes into the opening frame after a nifty pass into the circle from Gehman. Donohue fired a shot that Berger put padding on, but was unable to knock it away as the ball bounced into the back of the cage for the score. Gehman and Donohue connected again less than two minutes later, this time with Gehman on the scoring end, as Messiah opened up a three-goal lead still with 17 minutes left to go in the first half.
Messiah played a smothering defense in the opening half, holding the Bantams without a single shot in the game's first 33 minutes. Trinity earned a penalty corner in the 34th minute which prompted a shot attempt by co-captain Kelcie Finn but the Bantams were whistled for a foul which ended the scoring threat. The Falcons made one last offensive push in the final seconds of the half but Trinity's defense, led by Guiffre, Allison Slowe along with Ellie Tate and Jessie Midlige, kept Messiah from adding to its lead.
Messiah nearly made it a 4-0 game when Gehman intercepted a Trinity pass in the Bantam zone. Gehman launched a shot on goal but Berger came up with a clutch save, knocking the ball out of mid-air out of harm's way. Berger made another impressive save a few minutes later on a Falcon penalty corner to keep Trinity in it.
The Falcons added to their lead with two goals within 1:09 of each other, the first of which came at the 58:25 mark. Loht found the back of the cage thanks to an assist from Donohue after Messiah's 14th penalty corner of the afternoon before Donohue picked up her third assist on the day with a helper on a score by Nicole Wilkerson, also off a penalty corner. Trinity made one last push in the waning minutes but Messiah's back line never wavered as they completed the shutout in front of goalie Shelby Landes.