No. 16 Elizabethtown Falls to No. 15 Messiah

ELIZABETHTOWN, Pa. - In Thursday's clash between final two unbeaten s in the Middle Atlantic Conference, No. 16 Elizabethtown held a 5-4 halftime lead over No. 15 Messiah. The Falcons, however, outscored the Jays by a 7-4 margin in the final 30 minutes to come away with an 11-9 win at Ira R. Herr Field.

E-town (9-3, 7-1) got out to a 1-0 lead less than 1:30 into the game on the first of Sarah Cullinan's (West Chester, Pa./West Chester East) three goals on the afternoon. The Falcons (10-1, 7-0) fired back with a goal to tie things up with 21:31 left in the first half of play.

At the 19:08 mark, Cullinan found sophomore Kara Solesky (Parkville, Md./Mercy), who also finished with three tallies on the day, for E-town's second goal to take a 2-1 lead.

Messiah's offense started to pick things up with three straight goals for a 4-2 advantage with 7:57 to play in the first half.

Not to be outdone, the Blue Jays went on a 3-0 run of their own beginning with a free position goal by Solesky with 6:41 on the clock. Just over a minute later, Cullinan found the back of the net off an Emily Butler (Finksburg, Md./Mount de Sales Academy) assist with just over five minutes before halftime. Finally, Meg Cassels (Downingtown, Pa./Great Valley) capped the run with her 11th goal of the year with 29 seconds remaining to help the Jays take a 5-4 halftime lead.

The first minute of the second half started with some fireworks as Messiah's Cecilia Kjellman finished a free position shot 20 seconds into the half. Cullinan responded 33 seconds later with her 32nd goal of the season for a 6-5 E-town advantage.

The Blue Jays took their biggest lead of the contest with 2:19 gone in the second half when a shot off the stick of Katie Scheurich (Lancaster, Pa./Conestoga Valley) gave E-town a 7-5 lead. Over the next seven minutes, however, Messiah held the Jays off the board and scored three goals to make the score 8-7 in favor of the Falcons with 20:49 remaining.

From there, E-town's defense clamped down, holding Messiah scoreless for more than 14 minutes of play. Also during that time, Solesky and Becky Porter (Phoenixville, Pa./Phoenixville) added to E-town's goal total to help the Jays reclaim the lead at 9-8.

The Falcons broke through with a Meghan Doolittle goal with 6:22 to play, followed up by a goal from Lizzy Keeney with 5:58 on the clock to put Messiah up, 10-9.

In the last six minutes, the Jays were able to fire off three more shots, but one hit the post while the other two were saved. The Falcons tacked a late goal with 0.6 on the clock for the 11-9 final.

The back-and-forth action saw seven ties and five lead changes.

Cullinan and Solesky recorded hat tricks to lead the offense for the Jays, while Messiah's Rachel Dirksen, Kjellman and Doolittle recorded three goals each.

In goal, E-town's Rachael Waldman (Belmar, N.J./Academy of Allied Health & Science) made seven saves and Taylor Phillips turned away 15 shots for the Falcons.

On Saturday, the Blue Jays will look to get back into the win column when they take on King's for a 1:00 p.m. home game.


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