Messiah won its third Division III Men's Soccer Championship in five years with a 4-0 victory over UC Santa Cruz November 27 at Macpherson Stadium in Greensboro, North Carolina.
The Falcons, who also won titles in 2000 and 2002, shut out all five tournament opponents.
"This team had a tough act to follow, since we had won two national titles in three years," said Messiah head coach Dave Brandt. "But this team lived up to the task and improved all year."
Brandt's squad, which finished 23-2 on the season, produced goals from four players in the title game. David McClellan scored the Falcons' final goal after assisting on the first.
"I was on the championship team as a freshman," he said. "But this was more fulfilling because as a junior class we now played a bigger role in the team's success."
McClellan found Kai Kasiguran in the 12th minute to put Messiah on top to stay. Pat Lenehan scored in the 28th minute and Dan Visser found the net five minutes later. McClellan's goal came in the 88th minute.
"We came out with a lot of energy," said UC Santa Cruz head coach Paul Holocher. "But they got an early goal and it seemed like it wasn't going to happen for us after that."
Messiah coach Brandt said the final score was not indicative of the game's competitiveness.
"UC Santa Cruz plays great soccer, and they will be back here again," he said.
The Banana Slugs, who posted a 22-2-1 record for the year, downed Geneseo State, 3-1, in the semifinals. UC Santa Cruz outshot the Knights, 19-6.
Messiah beat Salisbury, 1-0, in its semifinal match. McClellan's goal in the 60th minute made the difference.
UC Santa Cruz 3, St. Norbert 0; Gust. Adolphus 1, Trinity (Tex.) 0; UC Santa Cruz 1, Gust. Adolphus 0; Williams 1, St. Lawrence 0 (ot); Geneseo St. 1, Wheaton (Mass.) 0; Geneseo St. 1, Williams 0; Wartburg 1, Wilmington (Ohio) 0; Messiah 5, Allegheny 0; Messiah 2, Wartburg 0; Richard Stockton 2, Stevens Institute 1 (ot); Salisbury 1, Johns Hopkins 0; Salisbury 4, Richard Stockton 2.
|Salisbury||0||0 -- 0|
|Messiah||0||1 -- 1|
Second half: M -- David McClellan (Aaron Casper), 59:56.
Shots: Salisbury 6, Messiah 20. Goalkeeper saves: Salisbury (Jason Cranford) 6, Messiah (Dustin Shambach) 4. Corner kicks: Salisbury 6, Messiah 12.
|Geneseo St.||0||1 -- 1|
|UC Santa Cruz||1||2 -- 3|
First half: UC -- Matt Marquess (Alex Tocco), 20:25.
Second half: UC -- Bryan Baird (unassisted), 56:37; UC -- Zach Migdal (David Frank), 59:00; GS -- Patrick Occhiuto (Tyler Ferrera), 79:16.
Shots: Geneseo St. 6, UC Santa Cruz 19. Goalkeeper saves: Geneseo St. (Chris Stock) 5, UC Santa Cruz (Christopher Pederson) 3. Corner kicks: Geneseo St. 1, UC Santa Cruz 8.
|Messiah||3||1 -- 4|
|UC Santa Cruz||0||0 -- 0|
First half: M -- Kai Kasiguran (David McClellan), 11:01; M -- Pat Lenehan (Seth Lehman), 27:14; M -- Dan Visser (Andre Burckhart), 32:05.
Second half: M -- McClellan (Bryan Mohney), 87:21.
Shots: Messiah 12, UC Santa Cruz 9. Goalkeeper saves: Messiah (Dustin Shambach) 3, UC Santa Cruz (Christopher Pederson) 5. Corner kicks: Messiah 3, UC Santa Cruz 3.