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Messiah, Eastern & Haverford capture conference tournament championships

Rowan University fell short in their bid for a title against Montclair State

Eastern University celebrates their second straight MAC Freedom championship
Eastern University Athletics

Three area teams booked automatic bids in the NCAA Division III tournament over the weekend with wins in their conference tournament finals.

Eastern University won back-to-back conference championships for the first time in program history after tying the game 1-1 in the 89th minute on a Jake Sankey goal and pushing the game to penalties, where Quentine Keibler was the hero for the second straight game with a huge penalty stop.

Keibler made six stops to claim the MVP award in what will officially go down as a 1-1 draw with Misericordia.

Haverford also repeated as conference champions with a 2-1 win over Franklin & Marshall in the Centennial Conference final.

Nick Jannelli (Springfield, Pa.) and Max Krieg scored five minutes apart in the first half to put the Fords up and they held on to the victory after a 66th minute goal by Ugo Okolie for F&M. With the win, Haverford becomes just the second team in conference history to repeat since the tournament’s inception in 2001.

Messiah booked their return to the NCAA Division III tournament after missing it for the first time in 19 years a year ago with a 4-1 win over Lebanon Valley College in the MAC Commonwealth Championship.

Nick West had a hat trick inside an hour and Kirby Robbins had assists on three of the Falcons’ four goals in the match. LVC converted on a Ryan Peugh penalty kick in the 90th minute to spoil the shutout.

Rowan University fell short in their bid to win the NJAC Conference Championship with a 3-0 loss to Montclair State on Friday despite outshooting their opponents 29-9.

The eventual game-winner was an own goal less than four minutes into the match. The loss was just the second this season for the Profs, who dropped a regular season match to Rutgers-Newark after starting the season 12-0-1.