Jeffs Fall to Messiah in NCAA Second Round, 2-0

Zuckerman2.jpgContact: Ben Badua

BOX SCORE

GAME HIGHLIGHTS
(Courtesy of Messiah College)

GRANTHAM, Pa. - Narrowly missing out on several early chances, the Amherst women’s soccer team saw its 2013 season draw to a close with a 2-0 NCAA second round loss to Messiah College.

A rematch of the 2011 sectional final against the Falcons, the Jeffs fell to 0-2 all-time against the two-time defending national champions. Wrapping up its third-consecutive NCAA Tournament appearance, Amherst finishes the season with a 10-4-3 overall record.

Generating an early scoring opportunity, Corinne Wulf ’14 got in behind the visitors’ defense. Coming off her line, Amherst sophomore goalkeeper Holly Burwick slid and met the oncoming forward, smothering the ball before Wulf could put a shot on net.

Moving into the attacking third, the Jeffs had several golden opportunities to take the lead. Working a short corner into the box, Sarah Zuckerman ’17 gathered it in the middle of the 18 before rattling a rising shot off the crossbar at 5:22. Moments later, the Jeffs sent a cross from the right side across the goal mouth, but a charging Hannah Cooper ’14 could not get a foot on the pass to the back-post.

Continuing to apply pressure Amherst earned another corner. Again playing it short, the Purple & White worked the ball into the middle of the 18-yard box. Finding open space, Zuckerman got a head on a nicely placed feed, but the try once again went of the woodwork.

Capitalizing on a failed clearance, Messiah struck first with a goal in the 18th minute. Holly Burgard ’16 got the play started by sending a ball into the 18. Hoping to get the ball out of danger, a Jeff defender tried to head it out, but Alicia Frey ’14 drilled the volley into the right side of the net at 17:01.

Messiah added to its tally with another goal in the 27th minute. Racing forward, Macaulay Soto ’16 looked to have a breakaway. With an Amherst defender giving chase, Soto could not put a clean attempt on net. Trailing the play, Nikki Elsaesser ’16 beat Burwick to the loose ball inside the 6-yard box, hammering home the Falcons’ second goal into the top of the netting.

Countering minutes later, the Jeffs nearly pared the deficit in half. Receiving the ball just above the middle of the 18-yard box, Megan Kim ’16 dribbled it to her left. Looking to goal, she sent a well struck shot that veered wide right. Making a run toward the back-post, Jessy Hale ’16 narrowly missed a chance to redirect the attempt to goal as Amherst headed into the intermission down 2-0.

Hoping to pad its cushion, the Falcons pushed into the attacking third in the 63rd minute. Holding the ball on the left side, Messiah played a centering pass across the face of the goal, but the Amherst defense didn’t allow the home team to foot it toward the net. Eluding a pair of Jeff backs with a clever flick, Elsaesser quickly moved up the right side before turning the corner to goal. Slotting a pass to Marisa Weaver’17 in front, the Falcons created a great chance from point-blank range, but the ensuing shot sailed over the bar.

With under 10 minutes to play, Amherst earned a corner from the right flag. Going short, the Jeffs got the ball into the box, eventually finding Alex Hart ’15, but the Falcon backline blocked down the hard shot before it could threaten the net. In the waning moments of regulation, Burwick made a nice play heading off Elseasser on a breakaway to keep Amherst within striking distance, but the visitors could not dispossess Messiah as the Falcons held it in the Jeff zone to run out the clock.

Messiah finished with a 9-6 shot advantage and a 6-4 edge in corners. Burwick finished with three saves, while sophomore counterpart Audra Larson did not need to make a stop thanks to a strong effort from the Falcon defense.

Sunday’s game marked the last for the Class of 2014. Together, Kate Sisk, Amanda Brisco, Chloe McKenzie, Sarah Duffy, Sara Abrahams, Emily Rose Colvin and Cooper helped the Jeffs to a 51-14-7 record and three-straight NCAA Championship appearances. Going 28-5-6 in NESCAC play, Amherst’s seniors helped the Purple & White win a conference crown in 2011 en route to a program record 20 wins and a trip to the national quarterfinals.