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Messiah win tenth National Championship

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Messiah were looking for their tenth title while Rutgers-Camden were seeking their first and it was Messiah who emerged victorious in a dramatic 2-1 win in extra time.

"I'm proud of the guys," said Rutgers-Camden head coach Tim Oswald, "the season they've had this year has been phenomenal."

"I think our experience helped us tonight," said Brad McCarty "we had our experience in this environment and that helped us."

After an early scare for the Messiah defense from another Rutgers-Camden long range free-kick they started to look dangerous with Jack Thompson looking dangerous on the wing for the Falcons.

The next real clear chance fell to the Scarlet-Raptors in the fourth minute as free-kick found Mike Ryan who could only send his header just wide of goal.

Rutgers-Camden did well in the opening stages but a cruel blow saw them concede in the 11th minute as Brian Ramirez's effort deflected off a defender, leaving the keeper scrambling as Messiah opened the scoring.

The counter was giving Rutgers-Camden their best chances, as the Scarlet Raptors streamed forward in offense but the Messiah defense would drop back quickly when not in possession to snuff out the chance.

Mike Ryan gave Messiah a scare on one of those counters on the half hour mark as an impressive through ball saw him clean on goal with the keeper but he just could not force his shot on target.

Mike Randall kept the Scarlet Raptors in the match in the 32nd minute as he had to dive at full stretch to stop Jack Thompson.

Ryan should have done better in the 34th minute as he was again put through, this time at a much nicer angle, but he didn't take his time and shot right at the keeper to let Messiah off the hook.

The Scarlet Raptors really had the better of the last ten minutes of the half but some solid defense from Messiah kept them out as the half ended 1-0.

Rutgers-Camden went close six minutes in to the half as Ryan found some space in the box, took a touch, and then hit the side netting.

It was all Rutgers-Camden in the early stages of the first half but, as the old adage says, defense wins championships, and Messiah held strong defensively.

Messiah started to come back in to the match with 30 to play but the Scarlet-Raptors defense was able to get back well and deny the chances.

Just as it looked like Messiah would close out the match Rutgers-Camden found a goal with 11 minutes to play as McGrory was played clean through on goal, allowing him to round the keeper and side foot the ball in to the back of the net.

"I played the miss on the ball," reflected McGrory, "I was a striker so it just came naturally, I kind of blacked out on it after that."

In the 85th minute Thompson nearly made himself a hero for Messiah as he was able to get on the end of a half clearance and hit a powerful strike from the edge of the area that sailed over the bar, that was the last clear chance as the match went to extra-time.

Mitch Grotti nearly made it two long goals in two nights as he hit a powerful effort from 20 yards but West was at his best in the Messiah goal and saved well to deny the chance.

In the 97th minute Thompson had two chances to make himself a hero, the first he could only hit right at the keeper while moments later he had another chance that only found the side netting.

In the first minute of the second half of extra-time Payne could have won the title for the Falcons as he came running in for a cross but his header was too high.

Payne wouldn't be denied in the 105th minute as Josh Wood played him through allowing him to slam home the championship winning goal.

"It's unreal," reflected Payne after his goal, a feeling that will be shared by everyone who watched the phenomenal match.

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