YORK PA- With just about perfect weather for a soccer game between two top ranked soccer teams; the 12th ranked York College Spartans edged top-ranked Messiah 1-0 in their annual central Pennsylvania showdown.
The Spartans improve to 7-1 overall as they have won three straight while the Falcons fall to 8-1.
The match started with play equal to a rivalry match as soon as York took the ball to start the game. York opened up the shooting with Daniel Baxter (Baltimore, Md./Calvert Hall College) taking a shot to force the Messiah goalie Brandon West to make a tough save. Messiah immediately took the possession down and challenged Spartan goalie, Brad Schmidt (Moorestown, N.J. /Delran), to make a tough save. Schmidt had to work hard to secure three more saves as the Messiah attack kept pressuring the Spartans in their defensive third.
Spartan senior Jake Hower (Lake Forest, Calif. /El Toro) added two shots on goal of his own that brought the shots on goal tally to an even four for each team as the play began to even out.
As the clock wound down for the first half, freshman Cristian Bonilla (York, Pa. /Dover Area) sent a typical looking pass to Brendan Saberton (Wilmington, Del. /Salesianum). Saberton turned from about 30 yards out and fired a shot that sliced between the Falcon defenders and an and diving West to find the back of the net for the goal. Saberton's goal was his second goal of the season with less than a minute left in the half.
On the goal Saberton stated, "I didn't know how much time was left I just turned and shot, luckily I didn't waste time. I was just really excited to get the chance to score and go into the half with the lead."
With Saberton's shot the Spartans were able to head into the half with a 1-0 lead and a 5-4 advantage in shots on goal.
The Spartans took the field in the second half with a determined look against the Messiah attack. The play went back and forth with York and Messiah locked in a heavyweight bout. Messiah kept looking as though it would have a chance, but time and again the stout York defenders turned the hopeful Falcons away. Patrick Ward (Prince George, Va. /Prince George) constantly appeared whenever a Messiah forward seemed to have an advantage and helped deter the chance of a shot. The second half featured only one shot on goal for each team with Charlie Versen (Dobbs Ferry, N.Y. /The Masters) taking the shot for the Spartans.
The match ended with deserving celebration by the Spartan squad.
After the game, head coach Mark Ludwig commented on the win. "We have a pretty good rivalry going with Messiah as we are 5-4-2 in our last 11 with them. So, I entered the locker room before the game and asked the team to raise their hands if they have ever beaten Messiah. Only two people were able to raise their hands. One was our fifth year senior forward Taylor Brummitt (Annapolis, Md. / Annapolis) and the other was me. Following the game we asked the question again and now everyone could raise their hands."
The Spartans lost at Messiah in overtime in last year's regular season game in Grantham. The two teams then engaged in an epic double overtime tie in last year's NCAA Division III Sweet 16. The Falcons advanced on penalty kicks in ending York's fantastic 2012 season. York's last win over the Falcons came on October 7, 2009 when the Green and White blanked the Falcons 2-0.
Messiah outshot York 14-12 in total shots but York had a 6-5 edge in shots on goal. The Falcons had a 9-3 margin in corner kicks including a 6-1 advantage in the category in the first half.
Schmidt notched five saves as he recorded his fourth shutout of the year. Schmidt is riding a scoreless streak of 286:34 with three straight clean sheets. West had five saves for the Falcons.
The Spartans now look ahead to this Saturday, September 28 in their match against a 6-2 University of Mary Washington squad. The game marks the opening of the Spartans 2013 Capital Athletic Conference schedule. The Spartans have won four straight Capital Athletic Conference championships and will begin the journey for five straight starting Saturday at 2:00 pm at Graham Field.
Story by Nate Caruso – York College Assistant Director of Athletic Communications