SALISBURY, Md. – The No. 3 Salisbury University field hockey team played in one of the biggest early-season contests in Division III field hockey on Saturday night, hosting top-ranked Messiah College at Sea Gull Stadium, but it was the Falcons who were able to come away with a 2-1 victory in overtime.
The first 10 minutes of the game were played mainly in the midfield, with Messiah getting the first shot, coming in the ninth minute, and receiving a penalty corner chance shortly thereafter, but neither team was able to take control.
Sophomore Lindsey Elgin was able to break up a run with 23 minutes on clock, as two Falcons raced down the left side, but Elgin cut off the attempt, poking the ball away and clearing the defensive zone.
The try began a stretch of seven minutes where the Falcons held the ball in their offensive end of the field, but Salisbury was able to turn away each effort with senior goalkeeper Tressie Windsor making a pair of saves over that stretch.
The Sea Gulls would get pressure the other way, getting their first shot with just over 13 minutes left in the first half when sophomore Lexi Butler, who just checked into the game, got a look from the top of the circle, but it was blocked by a Messiah defender over the net, keeping the game scoreless.
The pressure stayed up for the Sea Gulls, resulting in their first corner of the day. A pass from the top came toward Natalie Wilkinson at the post. She redirected the shot toward the right post and past Messiah goalkeeper Shelby Landes, but Mackenzie Brubaker was there for the defensive save for the Falcons.
Salisbury broke the scoreless tie with just over two minutes to go when sophomore Tara Daddio flicked a backhand pass from the top of the circle down the left side, feeding Wilkinson, who shot across the front of Landes for her second goal of the year and a 1-0 lead, which the Sea Gulls took to halftime.
The early moments of the second half kept the momentum with the Sea Gulls, but the Falcons got the first scoring chance of the half, off a corner just five minutes into the period. Kezia Loht got the ball seven yards in front of the net and fired a shot on goal, which was blocked down by Windsor, but right back to Loht. The second shot got past Windsor, high and to her left, but hit the cross bar and a Messiah foul ended the threat.
Salisbury looked for an insurance goal in the middle of the second half with a flurry of penalty corner chances, but could not get through the Messiah defense for a clean look at Landes. Penalty corner chances were even in the match, with each team getting eight opportunities.
The Falcons were able to square the game at 1-1 after one of Windsor's eight saves in the game, when a penalty was called against Salisbury on the rebound effort and Messiah was awarded a penalty stroke. Shayna Landis was called upon to take the try and converted with less than 16 minutes on the clock.
Salisbury had one of its best chances to retake the lead just two minutes later when Wilkinson sparked a rush down the left side, feeding to Butler, who crossed to Emily Lemanski on the right side. With Landes charging, Lemanski's touch to settle the pass was just a little too strong, allowing Landes to knock it away.
The score remained tied through regulation and the teams headed to overtime where the Falcons were able to strike first and collect the win. With Salisbury down a player, due to an early yellow card in the extra frame, Messiah got a breakaway, allowing Kezia Loht to carry the ball down the right side on Windsor. The keeper charged out, but Loht slipped the ball toward the left side and in for the 2-1 victory.
The Sea Gulls will remain home for their next game, this Wednesday, September 13, when they host Washington (Md.) College in a match set to begin at 6 p.m.