Messiah avenged their only loss of the season and lifted the national championship trophy for the sixth time in program history on Saturday with a 1-0 win over Wlliam Smith.
In a battle of No. 1 vs No. 2, the Falcons took the lead in the 55th minute when Maddie Kohl was played into the box with a through ball by Ellie Lengacher and made it hold up as the game-winner in Greensboro, South Carolina.
The Herons, into the national title game for the first time since winning it all in 2013, nearly found an opener in the sixth minute when Sheila McQuillen got on the end of a dangerous cross in front of goal but Lydia Ewing was there to make the first of three saves on the day after playing the hero in a PK shootout to advance to the final.
William Smith ended up outshooting Messiah 5-3 through the first half while limiting chances on the other end but after some halftime adjustments Messiah came out the aggressor. Playing on the front foot and controlling the tempo, Kayla Herr won the ball in the midfield and found Lengacher, who fed the ball into the box to Kohl, who was able to get her shot off and beat Herons goalkeeper Amanda Kesler.
Ewing was forced into a save seconds later when she was able to tip a Katrine Berg shot over the crossbar. Things quieted down in Ewing’s box after that with Messiah pushing for a second goal. The goal didn’t come but William Smith was only able to muster one final shot on goal with a flicked header that didn’t trouble Ewing.
Seconds later, the Falcons were celebrating the program’s first national championship since 2012 and the 17th for Messiah’s men’s and women’s soccer programs dating back to the men’s first title in 2000.