The Montclair State women’s soccer team made it to the NCAA DIII Tournament for the fourth straight year, but their season ended when they lost in the second round to top-ranked Messiah College.
The Red Hawks’ season came to a sudden halt when they lost in the first round of the New Jersey Athletic Conference Tournament on Oct. 31.
Two weeks later, they returned to action against Springfield College in the first round of the NCAA DIII Tournament, where Montclair State defeated the Pride 3-0 on Nov. 14.
Sophomore forward Tyler Madison, the team’s leading goal scorer, picked up right where she left off before the tournament and scored at the 13:53 mark. Junior forward Jennie Hornstra sent a shot on net, but the Springfield goalkeeper deflected it and Madison was able to knock in the rebound. Just over 10 minutes later, Hornstra converted on her second opportunity and gave the Red Hawks a 2-0 lead.
Montclair State forced Ciara Boucher, Springfield’s goalkeeper, to make three saves in the first half, but the Pride reversed course in the second half. Montclair State freshman goalkeeper Erinne Finlayson was put to the test and made a save in the first 37 seconds of the half. Shortly after, another two shots were sent her way and Finlayson was able to come up with the saves. The Red Hawks were being outshot 8-1, but senior forward Martina Landeka headed in a corner kick at the 72:22 mark to give the team a 3-0 lead. Landeka’s goal put the game away and Montclair State emerged with a 3-0 victory.
On Nov. 15, Messiah College headed into their game against Montclair State with a 19-0-2 record and was coming off of a 6-0 first round victory against the College of Staten Island. The Falcons had only given up three goals the entire season and continued to play in top form against Montclair State.
Nikki Elsaesser, Messiah’s leader in goals and points, scored her 27th goal of the season and gave her team a quick 1-0 lead at the 22:54 mark. Under eight minutes later, Messiah’s Holly Burgard scored off of an indirect free kick and expanded the lead to 2-0.
The Red Hawks were held without a shot on goal in the first half and couldn’t get much going in the second half of play either. Five minutes into the second half, Elsaesser again was able to send a shot past Montclair State’s Finlayson and stretch the lead to 3-0. The Red Hawks were only able to register one shot on goal for the rest of the game and ultimately lost 3-0.
With the loss, Montclair State’s season ended and they were eliminated from the second round of the NCAA DIII Tournament. Seven seniors will be graduating this year, including All-NJAC Landeka and Shawna Grabowski.