Mustangs Fall to Top-Seeded Messiah in MAC Commonwealth Championship

GRANTHAM, Pa. - Top-seeded and fourth ranked Messiah won its third consecutive MAC Commonwealth title as the Stevenson women's lacrosse team saw its season end with a 15-4 loss Saturday afternoon at Starry Athletic Complex.

It was the fifth straight title game appearance for the Mustangs (10-8) and fourth against the Falcons. The team is just 1-4 in those games, with the last three losses coming versus Messiah after Stevenson won its first title in 2014.

The Falcons (15-2) scored the game's first three goals despite the Mustangs winning the first three draw controls. It took the hosts just 20 seconds to score the opening goal after gaining possession for the first time in the game.

Freshman Mallory Davila put the visitors on the board with her 20th goal of the season before Messiah answered with another three-goal run to build a 6-1 lead with 7:17 remaining in the opening half. The hosts had five different scorers in the opening half.

Stevenson scored two of the next three goals to get back within four but the Falcons scored twice in the final 48 second to take a 9-3 halftime lead.

Messiah outscored the Mustangs 6-1 in the second half as senior Brady Heher got on the board with her 37th goal of the season on an assist from classmate Olivia Monteiro. Monteiro, who finished with a goal and two assists, ended her career on a 19-game point streak.

Junior Jamie Bittner finished with four caused turnovers and four ground balls while freshman Mack Ferguson totaled eight saves in net.

The Falcons were led by Stephanie Athens who finished with four goals and two assists. Defender Brooke Gamble was named the tournament's Most Valuable Player after recording two caused turnovers, two ground balls and a goal.

Defensive Player of the Year Alexa Dipeso finished with nine saves in net for the hosts.

Messiah outshot the Mustangs 29-20 while Stevenson held a slight edge in draw controls, 11-10. The Falcons went 1-for-3 on free-position shots while the Mustangs were 0-for-3.

The game marks the end of the careers for Heher, Monteiro, Mackenzie Reese, Rachael Akshar and Gabriella Brooks. Together, they have led the team to 45 wins, four consecutive MAC Commonwealth title games, the 2014 MAC Commonwealth title and the program's first-ever NCAA Tournament berth.

For Monteiro, she finishes fifth in program history with 203 points, sixth with 147 goals and tied for fourth with 56 assists. She also ranks third with 165 draw controls.