Mullins’ PK in OT Gives #6 Eagles Win over Reigning NCAA Champions & Top-Ranked Messiah
Emory University junior Clare Mullins converted a penalty kick in overtime to give the sixth-ranked Eagles a 2-1 win over top-ranked Messiah College in the team's opening game of the season in Mechanicburg, PA on Saturday afternoon.
The win marked the program's fourth over a team ranked first among NCAA Division III squads, and the first time the Eagles' have beaten the top-ranked Division III team since October 23, 1998, when Emory defeated Washington University (Mo.) 1-0 at home. It was the program's first road victory against a top-ranked Division III opponent.
Mullins' game-winning penalty kick was set up by sophomore Emily Feldman, who drew a foul from the Messiah defense, after starting a breakaway to the net at the 96:21 mark. Mullins was able to convert on the penalty kick opportunity for her first goal of the season, and the fifth game-winning goal of her career.
The game was a close contest throughout, with the Eagles striking first, as sophomore transfer Karina Rodriguez put the team on top at the 28:39 mark in her Emory debut. The play was set up by Feldman, who launched a shot from the left side of the field that was saved by Messiah goalkeeper Audra Larson, but Rodriguez was able to collect the rebound and finish for the score. Feldman was credited with her first assist of the season on the play, after tying for the team lead with six assists last season.
However, it would not take long for the reigning NCAA Division III Champions to respond with a goal of their own. Messiah's Hannah Weyland took a shot in the 31st minute that was blocked by an Emory defender, but deflected to Trishia Tshudy, who shot back at the net and was able to even the match with her first collegiate goal.
After the Eagles held a 5-3 advantage in shots in the first half, Messiah began to gain some momentum to start the second frame, taking the first five shots of the period. The Eagles would begin to regain the attack towards the middle of the half, and at the 66 minute mark, had one of their better opportunities of the game, as Mullins was able to take a header off a corner kick from Rodriguez, but the shot bounced off of the crossbar. The two teams would finish the second half even with nine shots apiece, but neither team would find the goal in the frame, sending the game into overtime.
Neither squad was able to manage a shot in the overtime frame, before the penalty kick for Mullins ended the match.
Senior goalkeeper Kaele Leonard played the second half and overtime period in goal to earn the win for Emory, converting on her only save opportunity. Emory's defense limited Messiah, the sixth-ranked offense in Division III last season, to just three shots on goal in the match.
Messiah, which suffered its first loss in the last 26 games, dropped to 1-1-0 on the season. Larson, a freshman, played the entire game in goal for the Falcons, making three saves in the defeat.
Emory will continue its season-opening road trip on Sunday, traveling to Franklin and Marshall College in Lancaster, PA for a 1:00 PM game.
Emory is now 3-3 against top-ranked teams since 1997, including today's victory… Emory also had a season-opening 2-1 overtime win against Lee University (then ranked first in the NAIA) in 2010… The Eagles improved to 7-2-5 against nationally ranked teams over the last three seasons, and to 26-31-14 against nationally-ranked teams since 1997… The Eagles have not lost in their last 25 regular season games, going 22-0-3 during that stretch.