YORK, PA - The York College women’s soccer team ended their season Saturday afternoon with 3-0 loss to #2 Messiah in the Sweet 16 round of the NCAA tournament. The Spartan record falls to 15-6-3 for the season while Messiah stays unbeaten and untied at 21-0.
Messiah took control of the match in the opening stanza. The Falcons’ constant motion and systematic play opened up numerous holes in the Spartan midfield. Emily Cope put her squad up 1-0 when she hammered home her seventh goal of the season in the 12th minute. After receiving a pass from Stef Rowe, Cope danced on the ball at the top of the box before slotting it inside the right post for the game’s first score.
Barely five minutes later, Rowe got on the end of a great pass into the box from Avie Fitzgerald and finished to the right side of the goal. Rowe’s team-leading 19th goal of the year gave the Falcons a 2-0 lead at the half.
With their season on the line, the Spartans came out an inspired squad in the second frame. Ten minutes into the period, York’s Erin Kuhn (Turnersville, N.J./Washington Township) gave the Spartans their best chance on goal. The senior forward hit a shot that Messiah goalkeeper Brindley Beckwith stopped but was unable to corral. An alert Kuhn tried to slip in the rebound but a Falcon defender cleared it off the line. The Spartans would be unable to turn the momentum into a goal.
In the 63rd minute of play, Erin Hench secured the Messiah victory when she drilled home her shot from the top of the box into the right side of the goal. Hench’s unassisted tally gives her 15 goals in 2007.
For the game, Messiah held a 16-6 lead in shots to go along with an 8-1 advantage in corner kicks.
Meagan Cahill (Crofton, Md./Arundel) and Desiree Halaka (Southampton, N.Y./Southampton) combined in the Spartan net making one and two saves respectively. Beckwith earned the win in goal for the Falcons making four stops.
The Spartans bid farewell to six top-tier seniors. Kuhn, Ashley Gross (York, Pa./Eastern York), Katie Kegerreis (Honey Brook, Pa./Twin Valley), Jenna Knaper (Red Lion, Pa./Red Lion), Emily Sullivan (Bowie, Md./Archbishop Spalding), and Emily Wolf (Crofton, Md./Arundel) leave York as the most successful class in the history of the program. Over their four seasons, York has a combined record of 55-20-9. These seniors were also part of the two best seasons in the school history, setting a program-best by winning 14 games in 2006 before winning 15 games this year to go along with a Capital Athletic Conference tournament championship and a berth into the NCAA Sweet 16.
Messiah moves on to play Ithaca, Sunday at 1:00 pm at Graham Field in the NCAA Elite Eight round. The Bombers were 1-0 winners over Wittenberg in the other half of the bracket. The winner advances to the 2007 Final Four held at Disney’s Wide World of Sports.