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Saturday, November 8, 2003

Elizabethtown Falls to Messiah, 3-0, in Commonwealth Conference Championship; Messiah Receives Automatic NCAA Bid, Blue Jays Hope for Possible At-Large Berth

GRANTHAM, Pa. --- Messiah continued its Commonwealth Conference championship streak Saturday with a 3-0 win over Elizabethtown in Grantham. The 14th-ranked Falcons, which have won every Commonwealth title since the conference tournament began in 2000, defeated the 16th-ranked Blue Jays in convincing fashion by holding a 15-5 advantage in shots.

Messiah, the defending NCAA Division III national champion, has now won 12 games in a row and improves to 17-2-2 overall with the win, while Elizabethtown drops to 16-3-1 overall with the loss. Saturday's game was the first time since 1999 that Etown lost to Messiah by more than a single goal.

Messiah held an 8-2 advantage in shots in the first half and got its first goal just 6:22 into the game when Brian Mohney (Clearfield, PA/Clearfield) scored. David McClellan (Middleburg, PA/Middleburg) added another goal off a Mohney assist just over ten minutes later, scoring at 17:00 to give Messiah a 2-0 lead going into halftime.

Sam Casey (Fairfax, VA/Paul VI) scored Messiah's final goal at 60:08 off a McClellan assist. Etown goaltender Michael Ciattei (Jarrettsville, MD/St. Paul's School-Baltimore) made nine saves, and Dustin Shambach (Middleburg, PA/Middleburg) made two saves for the Falcons.

While Messiah clinches an automatic bid to the NCAA Division III tournament with the conference title, Elizabethtown must now wait to see if it is one of the teams to receive the precious few at-large bids. There are only four available at-large bids in this year's NCAA tournament for teams from conferences with automatic qualifiers. The NCAA plans to release the 2003 Division III men's soccer tournament bracket at or around 10:00 p.m. Sunday, November 9.

At Grantham, Pa.
Messiah 3, Elizabethtown 0

Elizabethtown (16-3-1) 0 0 -- 0
Messiah (17-2-2)       2 1 -- 3

Goal Scorers:
M - Brian Mohney, 6:22
M - David McClellan (Mohney), 17:00
M - Sam Casey (McClellan), 60:08

Shots: E 5, M 15. Corner Kicks: E 2, M 6. Fouls: E 12, M 9. Goalie Saves: Michael Ciattei (E) 9, Dustin Shambach (M) 2.