Mustangs Fall to Top-Seeded and 12th-Ranked Messiah in Semifinals

Mustangs Fall to Top-Seeded and 12th-Ranked Messiah in Semifinals

GRANTHAM, Pa. - Stevenson women's lacrosse sophomore Carly Bowes scored twice but the fifth-seeded Mustangs were held to just one goal in the second half as top-seeded Messiah posted a 10-4 victory in the Middle Atlantic Conference (MAC) Commonwealth semifinals Wednesday afternoon.

The Mustangs (8-10) have dropped eight straight versus Messiah, who has bounced Stevenson from the conference tournament in four consecutive seasons. It is the first semifinal meeting between the two teams who have met in the previous four conference title games.

It was the visitors who struck first as senior Hana Tankersley netted her 10th goal of the season on the first shot of the day by Stevenson. But the Falcons (14-3) answered just 1:34 later and scored back-to-back unassisted goals to take a 2-1 lead with 16:42 remaining in the opening half, including the second on a free-position shot. Messiah, who leads the conference in assists per game, scored half of its goals unassisted.

Bowes responded with a free-position goal of her own, scoring her 37th goal of the season. Bowes, who leads the team in goals this season, has scored in 17 of the team's 18 games this season. She has scored 16 of her 38 goals on free-position shots.

McKenna Edwards scored a pair of goals for the hosts to give Messiah a 4-2 lead with 3:31 before sophomore Kiely Bunce converted a free-position shot to bring the visitors within one with 26 seconds remaining in regulation. The Falcons won the ensuing draw control and fired a shot at the end of the half but sophomore Mack Ferguson made her seventh save of the half.

The Falcons opened the half with four consecutive goals, holding the Mustangs scoreless until the 10:31 mark when Bowes netted her second of the game to close with 8-4. But Messiah scored twice more, just 1:24 apart.

The defensive duo of senior Jamie Bittner and sophomore Sarah Roerty each totaled four draw controls, three ground balls and two caused turnovers. Ferguson finished with 10 saves and four ground balls.

Messiah outshot the Mustangs, 25-19, including 15-9 in the first half. Stevenson won 10 of the 16 draw controls and went 3-for-6 at the 8-meter arc.

The game marks the end of the career for Bittner, Tankersley, Amanda Robshaw and MaryKate White. The group led the Mustangs to 40 wins over four seasons and three MAC Commonwealth title games.