Women’s soccer team falls in NCAA Sectional

WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass. — No. 6 Messiah defeated the Middlebury College women’s soccer team, 3-0, on Saturday in an NCAA Sectional semifinal played on the campus of Williams College.
The Panthers, who had advanced to the Sweet Sixteen of an NCAA tournament for the fifth time in program history, finished at 15-5 after winning an NCAA Regional the weekend before at Stevens Institute. Messiah (20-2) was set on Sunday to play host No. 3 Williams (18-0-2), the defending NCAA champion, for a berth in the tournament’s final four.
Messiah outshot the Panthers, 8-0, in the first half, but scored all its goals in a more statistically even second half, during which the Falcons’ margin in shots at goal was 5-3.
Messiah had a golden chance to take the lead in the second minute when a Middlebury handball in the penalty area resulted in a penalty kick. But Falcon Marissa Weaver’s bid hit the crossbar squarely over the hand of Middlebury goalkeeper Ursula Alwang and bounced away.
Alwang kept the game scoreless with two big saves in the 38th minute. She denied a left-footed shot by Brooke Firestone, but a rebound squirted toward a charging Lilly Shover. Ulwang was again up for the task, laying out to her right to deny Shover. Those proved to be her only saves.
The Falcons scored three times in the first 18:15 of the second half, starting in the third minute. On a corner kick struck by Messiah’s Olivia Snare, the official on the goal line ruled that Ulwang touched the attempt while behind the line, giving the Falcons the lead.
Messiah doubled its lead a little more than eight minutes later. D.J. Cole lofted a pass to the offensive third to Marissa Weaver. She touched the ball to her right foot and ripped a shot from just inside the penalty box past a diving Ulwang. 
The Falcons made it 3-0 at 63:15, when Skylar Ulry crossed from the right to Kate Shults, who one-touched it just inside the near post.
Middlebury turning up the pressure in the final minutes. Adrianna Gildner recorded Middlebury’s first and only shot on goal in the 82nd minute, a right-footed blast that Messiah goalie Sara Yunez saved.
Amy Martin and Alissa Huntington also launched shots for the Panthers.
Seniors who saw action for the Panthers on Saturday were Gildner, Martin, Amanda Hotvedt, Amanda Haik, Katharine Hobbs, Ali Surdoval and Grace Woroch. Also on the roster were senior goalie Kate Reinmuth, a starter in many games in the past two years, and senior reserve Day Robins.

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