Courtesy of UofRAthletics.com
GRANTHAM, PA – Ninth-ranked Messiah College scored two second half goals to post a 2-0 victory over the University of Rochester in an Elite 8 matchup on Sunday afternoon.
Rochester finishes the season with a 14-4-3 overall record. This year matches the 2009 season when the Yellowjackets also advanced to the Elite 8 (and lost at Messiah). Messiah is 22-2, headed to the Final Four.
In Saturday’s Sweet 16 matches, Messiah edged Stevens Institute of Technology, 3-2, while Rochester rallied from 1-0 down at halftime to post a 2-1 victory over 16th-ranked Amherst College. The run through the NCAA tournament saw the Yellowjackets grab victories over Connecticut College in round one (at SUNY Oneonta), over sixth-ranked Oneonta in the second round, and over #16 Amherst on Saturday. All three games ended 2-1 with the Yellowjackets scoring the winning goal in the second half or in OT (vs. Conn. College) each time. They knew how to battle back.
And that’s what they did after the Falcons finally broke a 0-0 deadlock in the 64th minute. UR pushed forward immediately and swarmed into the box, but couldn’t get a clean shot away as the Falcons defended well.
Two minutes later, though, Geoff Rouin finally found some space to run down the left side. He angled towards goal, then hit a swerving ball into the center of the box with two teammates rushing the net. The ball carried, and curled just a little more which allowed Messiah goalkeeper Connor Bell to grab it.
Bell was credited with two saves. In the 18th minute, UR’s Josh Cooley came down with the first good chance for the Yellowjackets. He swept through on the left and fired across the face of goal, only to see Bell push it wide for a corner kick.
Rochester’s Redd Brown had four saves and all were high-quality. With 20 minutes left in the first quarter, he was came off his line to deflect a shot by Nick West. The ball was sent back in from left wing and Colby Thomas headed it wide left.
Late in the first half, each team came close. UR’s Cristian Baltier dribbled to the top of the circle, but just as he was moving into shooting space, Messiah stripped the ball. Two minutes later, Messiah’s Josh Bender came through on the right, moved to the right side of the circle and shoots. Brown saved low and covered up.
He had a terrific save two minutes before the opening goal was scored. With him off the line, Messiah tried to chip the ball into the right side of the net. Brown leaped back at the last possible second to catch it.
West set up the first goal for Messiah, scored the second, and nearly had a third when his shot hit the post in the 88th minute. In the 64th, he swung the ball over from left wing to Justin Brautigam who leaped and headed it into the lower right corner, just beyond Brown’s reach..
Messiah got the second goal on a counter. Thomas came through on the right, cut inside the box and slid the ball laterally to West who directed it under Brown’s dive to the lower left hand corner of the net.