The No. 2 William Smith College soccer team was edged by No. 1 Messiah 1-0 in the national championship game at UNCG Soccer Stadium this afternoon.
The Herons, who were making their fifth appearance in the national championship game, finished the season with a 21-2-1 overall record. William Smith’s 21 wins are second most in a season and its 18 shutouts are third most.
William Smith controlled the pace of play in the first half, outshooting, the Falcons 5-3. Junior Sheila McQuillen had the game’s first scoring chance in the sixth minute. She collected a crossing pass and one-timed it on cage, but Lydia Ewing was there to make the save. Junior Amanda Adams had a chance in the 30th minute but fired a shot from inside the box just over the crossbar.
Messiah, which finishes the year with a 23-1-2 overall record, flipped the script in the second half. The Falcons out shot the Herons 7-3 in the final 45 minutes. Messiah broke through with a goal in the 55th minute. Ellie Lengacher slipped a through ball to Maddie Kohl. Kohl dribbled the ball into the box and fired a shot into the lower right corner of the cage.
William Smith nearly tied the game right away, but first-year Katrine Berg’s shot from the right side of the box was punched aside by Ewing at the last second.
Messiah continued to apply pressure in the offensive zone, but sophomore Amanda Kesler was up to the dask, making a couple of key saves to keep it a one-goal game.
Kesler finished the game with five saves. Ewing played all 90 minutes in goal for Messiah and made three saves.
The Falcons finished the game with a 10-8 edge in shots. The Herons held a 6-4 edge in corner kicks.