The No. 2 Salisbury University field hockey team faced its toughest test of the young season on Saturday, traveling to No. 11 Messiah College in Granath, Pa., on a dreary day, and coming away with a hard-fought 3-2 win.
Messiah would get the first shot off, testing goalkeeper Rachel Clewer in the seventh minute, but Clewer denied the chance and Salisbury would attempt the next five shots, getting the game’s opening goal through in the 11th minute when junior Samantha Johnson got the scoring started.
Johnson ripped a shot from the right edge of the circle, getting past Messiah goalkeeper Carly Day for the 1-0 lead.
The Falcons (3-2) would even things a few minutes later, as Carissa Gehman notched an unassisted goal, dribbling through the defense to get an opportunity against Clewer and evening the score.
The score was still tied at halftime, with Salisbury (5-0) holding a 9-3 edge in shots and getting all five penalty corner chances of the first half.
Though the score was even as the second half began, it did not stay that way for long as sophomore Becca Rinaca put home her sixth goal of the season for the 2-1 lead just 85 seconds into the half, off an assist from junior Courtney Jantzen.
The assist was Jantzen’s fourth of the year, and she has now registered at least one point in each of Salisbury’s five games this season.
Johnson put home her second goal of the day in the 50th minute for the insurance score that would prove to be key as the Falcons scored two minutes later.
Salisbury would hold off Messiah, as the backline of the SU defense, paced by juniors Breck Sullivan and Amanda Cooper, and sophomore Hannah Miller kept the Falcons from scoring the equalizer.
The Sea Gulls finished with a 15-8 advantage in shots and were awards nine penalty corners to the Falcons’ one.
Clewer finished with three saves in the contest, while Day turned away 11 Salisbury shots.