Late surge comes up short for Lions

Despite a second-half rally, the College’s field hockey team suffered their third loss of the season against Messiah College in a tightly knit 3-2 finish.

Coming out of the locker room for the second half, the Lions (13-3) were staring at a 2-0 deficit, but chipped away to tie the score at two-all with 16 minutes left.

“We went down right before halftime and I think really used it to get it together and make adjustments,” senior forward Jillian Nealon said. “Whenever we go down, we know that we always have the ability to fight back and we knew that’s what we had to do.”

The Lions first goal of the game came a little over five minutes into the second half when sophomore midfielder Erin Waller drove a ball into the middle of the circle and watched as it deflected off a Falcon and came to a stop in the back of the cage.

As time continued to tick away, the Lions pressed to put more pressure offensively and after 20 minutes, they succeeded. In the 55th minute of the contest, Waller sent another shot into the middle of the circle, where sophomore midfielder Victoria Martin slammed it home.

“It’s unlike us to go into the second half of a game down by two,” senior forward Caitlyn Jenkins said. “It was extremely hard-fought and we had that fight and killer instinct in us all along — it just came out a little late.”

Field hockey has struggled as of late.

After keeping the game scoreless for the first 24 minutes of play, the Lions fell behind 1-0 when Emily Bower scored her sixth goal of the season for Messiah. Ten minutes later, Natalie Ziegler would take a cross to the left side of the field and direct it right into the cage.

The Lions would hold the Falcons for a span of nearly 32 minutes before allowing another goal. That score would prove to be the game-winner.

With a couple of ticks under four minutes left to play, another cross to the left side of the circle was pushed past the Lions’ defense and into the cage by Celina Nissley. Jenkins said that although it can be viewed that the Lions lost, she believes they just ran out of time.

“Their offense was just able to finish putting the ball in the cage before the final whistle was blown,” Jenkins explained. “If we had a couple more minutes, I know our team would have put more points up on the board.”

After starting the season 10-0, the Lions have dropped one game in each of the last three weeks. However, Jenkins said that these losses will hopefully only be mere blips in the radar on the way back to another National Championship.

“It’s always good to get a reality check during your season,” Jenkins said. “I feel like these last couple games made us realize what we need to improve upon and what we need from each other in order to achieve our ultimate goals of being happy and winning another championship.”