(Story courtesy of Trinity University Athletics)
GRANTHAM, Pa. -- The 21st-ranked Trinity women's soccer team was eliminated from the NCAA Division III Playoffs with a 2-0 loss to the top-ranked host Messiah (PA) College in Saturday's Round of 16 game.
The first part of the game was a sparring match between the Tigers and Falcons, as each team made only one shot in the first 10 minutes. Abby Blackwood's shot with nine minutes elapsed in the contest turned out to be the only attempt of the day for Trinity.
Messiah broke a scoreless tie in the 20th minute on a goal from just outside the 18-yard box, lifting it just over the outstretched hand of Tiger goalkeeper Paige Wallace. Wallace made three saves in the first half alone to keep it a one-score game at the half.
Wallace kept it a 1-0 game with another save just after halftime, and the Tiger defense held Messiah to just three shots over the first 20 minutes of the second period.
In the 77th minute, Trinity committed a foul in the box that drew a penalty kick for Messiah and a red card for the Tigers. The penalty shot missed, though, and the game remained within reach for Trinity.
With the Tigers down to just 10 players, Messiah broke through with an insurance goal in the 82nd minute to go up 2-0 and essentially sealed the game.
Trinity concluded its season with a 17-4-1 record, while Messiah improved to 21-1-1 and advanced to Sunday's NCAA Quarterfinals.
The last time the two teams met was the 2005 NCAA Quarterfinals, which ended in a scoreless tie. Messiah advanced 5-4 on penalty kicks.
The Tigers advanced to the Round of 16 for the first time since 2016, which was Head Coach Dylan Harrison's opening season at Trinity.
Goalkeeper Paige Wallace made four saves in the game, finishing the season with a career-high 38 saves.
The Tigers competed in their 11th consecutive NCAA Tournament and the 25th overall. Trinity earned tournament wins over Pacific Lutheran (Wash.) University and Hardin-Simmons (Texas) University to reach this weekend's event.