SU hangs tough with Messiah, loses 2-0

SALISBURY, Md. – The Salisbury University women's soccer team challenged No. 4 Messiah College, but the Falcons offense proved to be too much, taking the match 2-0 Saturday afternoon at the SU Soccer Complex. Messiah scored two late goals and the Sea Gulls were unable to match those tallies.

Messiah (4-1-1) controlled much of the action but the Salisbury (3-3) defense held the Falcons at bay until Nikki Elaesser had three chances on goal and put home the third attempt with 19:01 remaining in the contest.

Elaesser had a chance in front of the goal which was blocked by the Salisbury defense, she put a second attempt off the right post, saw the ball come back to her feet and put the ball past Salisbury goalie Michelle Conrad. That would be all the offense the Falcons would need, but Elizabeth Phillips added a goal with 18 seconds remaining with a header off of a corner kick to finish the scoring in the contest.

Salisbury played more of a defensive game and the stat sheet reflected that effort. The Sea Gulls were outshot in the contest 26-1, with the one attempt coming in the first half. Conrad made six saves in the contest, keeping the Sea Gulls in the game throughout the contest. Messiah also held an 11-1 advantage in corner kicks.

Salisbury played a solid defensive game, keeping the Falcons at bay for the majority of the contest. The back-third of senior Bonnie Sandone, sophomores Jamie Hovendon and Jackie Holtzman and the freshmen trio of Tabitha Brown, Heather Deamond and Courtney Kos played well to keep the Messiah offense in check.

Salisbury was not without its chances though. Freshman Jenna DeLetto had an early chance as the ball was cleared to her on the right wing, midway through the first half, but the Massapequa, N.Y., native was unable to settle the ball and the possession was negated. DeLetto had a similar chance with about 12 minutes remaining in the contest but was again unable to settle the ball and put a shot on goal for the equalizer.

Nonetheless, Salisbury stood tall against the defending national champions and will be able to apply the experience of playing a top-notch team to the rest of its schedule.

The Sea Gulls are next in action this coming Wednesday, traveling to Christopher Newport University. Game time is set for 6 p.m. Salisbury is next at the SU Soccer Complex a week from today, opening its conference schedule, hosting the University of Mary Washington. That match is slated to begin at 1 p.m.

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