February 27, 2013

No. 11 Messiah Opens Season with Rout of McDaniel

from press release

GRANTHAM, Pa. – The Messiah College women's lacrosse season got off to a good start on Wednesday, as they defeated McDaniel College 16-4 on a chilly afternoon in Grantham.

Marybeth Bindel scored Messiah's first goal of the year after just 43 seconds of play, as she scored unassisted to put the Falcons up 1-0. After the Green Terror tied the game less than two minutes later, Messiah rolled off 13 unanswered goals en route to the lopsided victory.

The win moves Messiah, ranked No. 11 in the most recent IWLCA Top 20 Poll, to 1-0 and gives the Falcons a single win over the Green Terror in three-straight season. McDaniel falls to 1-1 with the loss.

"We were focused on executing our game plan," Messiah head coach Heather Greer said. "We wanted to impose our game plan on them, and everyone worked hard in their roles to make that happen today."

The first score of the Falcons 13-goal streak came from Claire Strikeleather, as she put home her first of three goals on the day. A few minutes after her score, she fed Lizzy Keeney for a quick shot on the right side and a 3-1 lead.

"Claire is off to a strong start," Greer said of the first-year player. "What makes her great is that she makes those around her better, and she showed that today."

For Keeney—Messiah's leading scorer among returning players from last year—it was the first of a team-high five goals in the win.

A moment later, Cecilia Kjellman recorded her lone goal by way of a full-field highlight. The dynamic senior picked up a groundball behind the Falcons' goal, sprinted straight up the field, cut through the middle of the McDaniel defense, and launched a quick shot for the score. The goal put Messiah up 4-1 at the 19:31 mark of the first-half.

Less than 10 minutes later, Messiah found themselves ahead 10-1 as Keeney scored three more times off assists from three different players. Mixed in-between Keeney's scores was an impressive goal from Stikeleather, as she leapt for a simultaneous catch-and-shoot off a pass from Kiersten McGreer.

The Falcons took an 11-1 lead into the intermission before outscoring McDaniel 5-3 over the final 30 minutes. Messiah's dominant offensive effort was aided by a 17-5 advantage in draw controls. They also scored their 16 goals on just 26 total shots.

"Lizzy is talented on the draws, and that's huge for us because it's a game of possession," said Greer, commenting on the junior's seven draw controls. "She takes a lot pride in that part of her game."

McGreer scored three goals while Stikeleather, Carly Bajus and Gabrielle Hamelryck each handed out two assists.

Taylor Phillips collected the win for Messiah after allowing just three goals in 54-plus minutes.

"With our small roster, every contribution is necessary and important, and we rely on each other to get the job done," Greer said. "I'm proud of the way we played today, and we're looking forward to the season that's ahead of us."

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