SALISBURY, Md. – The No. 15 Salisbury University men's soccer team came up short to No. 3 Messiah College, 3-0, in a second-round tilt of the NCAA men's soccer tournament at the SU Soccer Complex Sunday afternoon.
The Sea Gulls entered today's match after putting up a four-goal shutout in the first round on Saturday against Greensboro College, carrying an 18-3 record into the match against Messiah.
In a high-paced match, shots were fired right from the start. In the 21st minute, the fourth shot was attempted by the Falcons. Messiah's Joshua Wood found a one-on-one opportunity with sophomore goalkeeper Drew Staedeli, blasting a hard, lined ball to the right side of the net. The sophomore, with quick reflexes, came up big with a diving save sparking the Sea Gulls and shifting the momentum.
After pulling the save in, the offense charged the other way in quick fashion. Senior midfielder Jake Perry bolted down the field with the ball, but was tripped up just outside the 18-yard box by Messiah's Josh Kremers. With a yellow card handed out, senior defender Chase Humphrey took the honors of the free kick crushing an attempt into the four-man wall. With the ball deflecting back in his direction, the senior ripped another shot that sent goalkeeper Brandon West diving, but the attempt pulled just wide right.
In the 25th minute, the Falcons capitalized on their first goal. Messiah's Sheldon Myer and Mike Kovach found room on the right side of the field to get the ball in striking territory, bringing Staedeli out of the net for a closeout. Kovach played a groundball under the diving keeper, to hook up with Wood for the open-net finish.
Messiah added number two under seven minutes later, after play was blown dead following a foul inside the 18-yard box. The Falcons' Brian Ramirez claimed honors for the penalty kick, placing the ball just past an outstretched Staedeli into the top left corner of the net.
The Falcons would add their final goal in the 36th minute, as Danny Brandt would take an uncontested attempt from the right side of the box.
Salisbury would see multiple opportunities in the second half. Senior forward Elliott Crompton sparked the offense with a strong attempt in the second minute into the restart, but West pulled in an impressive save to keep the score 3-0.
With 35 minutes remaining, junior forward Matt Greene gave the Sea Gulls one of their best opportunities to get on the scoreboard for the game with a blasted shot to the top right corner of the goal, but pulled it just wide.
SU totaled 14 shots for the game with three on target, while Messiah attempted 21 with nine on goal. Staedeli pulled in six saves through 90 minutes. He concludes his sophomore year with an 18-4 overall record and a 0.53 goals-against average, only allowing 11 past his gloves through 22 matches.
Seniors Crompton, Larry Cornish, Humphrey, Perry, Adam Quigley, and Trevor Sharpe all concluded their final season with the Sea Gulls in successful fashion, scoring a total of 20 goals and 18 assists for 58 points through 22 contests. The six contributed immensely in a record-breaking season that consisted of the most wins in the regular season in program history with 16, while tying a program record of a 12-game winning streak and becoming regular-season champions of the Capital Athletic Conference.