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NCAA Division III Championships Preview: Messiah

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With the NCAA Division III Soccer Championship beginning in San Antonio on Friday the continuing previews of the eight sides competing, and it wouldn't be this tournament without Messiah College as the final men's team in the tournament.

It may not have been Messiah's most dominant season but whenever Messiah are in the Final Four they'll always be favorites.

The Falcons easily have the best record in the tournament with nine championships, already a staggering number but even more so when you factor in that their earliest title was in 2000.

The Division III Soccer world was stunned on November 6th when Messiah were knocked out of the MAC Commonwealth Conference Championships in a penalty shootout defeat to Lycoming, forcing them in to the tournament through an at large berth.

Coming in with an at large berth Messiah were in unfamiliar territory as they were forced to play in the first round but it was a merely a speed bump on the road to their 14th Final Four.

Centenary were their first opponents and they showed how little that Conference Semi-Final defeat mattered to them as they put a stunning nine goals away in a 9-1 victory.

They then were forced to play a road game as they took on the hosts of the opening rounds Salisbury but again it was light work for the Falcons as they managed a 3-0 win over the Seagulls to easily advance to the sectional.

What was impressive for Messiah was the spread of goal scorers throughout the tournament with three different goal scorers in the 3-0 win.

Their Sweet 16 match was very tight as they squeaked past Kenyon with a tight 2-1 win to take the Falcons to the semi-finals.

That saw them face off against Franklin & Marshall and the battle hardened Falcons continued to impress as they cruised in to the Final Four with a 4-1 victory.

Any time Messiah is in the Final Four they're going to be considered favorites but that aura of invincibility has faded as they come in with only the second best record. But this is a team that knows how to get it done when it matters.

Team: Messiah College Falcons
City: Grantham, PA
National Rank: 4th
Regional Rank: 1st (Mid-Atlantic)
Record: 22-1-1
Best Finish: Champions (2000, 2002, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2012) - Record
Final Fours: 13 (1986, 1988, 200, 2001, 2002, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2012)
Coach: Brad McCarty (Alumni)
Semi-Final: vs Williams - Friday 7:30pm

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