No. 15 Gulls face off against No. 3 Falcons in second-round clash

No. 15 Gulls face off against No. 3 Falcons in second-round clash

SALISBURY, Md. – The No. 15 Salisbury University men's soccer team takes the pitch today against the No. 3 Messiah College Falcons in the second round of the NCAA men's soccer tournament. The match is set to begin at 1:30 p.m., from the SU Soccer Complex.

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How we got here

SU advanced past Greensboro College on Saturday, Nov. 16, in the first round of play in the NCAA tournament, as four different Sea Gulls tallied goals to cruise to a 4-0 shutout. With an appearance in the Capital Athletic Conference championship match, Salisbury earned an at-large bid into the national tournament.

How they got here

Messiah advanced past Centenary (N.J.) College on Saturday, Nov. 16, in the first round of play in the NCAA tournament, scoring a blistering nine goals against the Cyclones through 90 minutes of play. The Falcons entered as an at-large bid into the tournament after making a run to the semifinal match in the Commonwealth Conference tournament, falling to Lycoming, 5-4, in penalty kicks. 

Series history

The two programs are not new to meeting each other in the NCAA tournament, as all three of their previous meetings have been in the postseason. The Falcons hold the 2-0-1 edge over the Sea Gulls, but SU eliminated Messiah from the tournament in 2003 in penalty kicks after drawing an even 0-0 through two overtime periods. The match took place here at the SU Soccer Complex on Nov. 15 in the third round. The Falcons' most recent victory over the Gulls was in 2004 in Greensboro, N.C., when Messiah cashed in on a lone goal to send it to the national championship.

Scouting Messiah

The Falcons enter the NCAA tournament as reigning national champions and ranked No. 4 in the country with a 19-1-1 overall record. Messiah is not new to the big dance, winning nine titles since 2000. The men have found the back of the net 74 times this season with 60 of the tallies being assisted. The Falcons are led by Joshua Wood and Jeremy Payne with 19 and 14 goals, respectively. Payne was honored at the conclusion of the 2012 season as National Player of the Year. Brian Ramirez earned All-American accolades last season, as well.

What's next

Should the Sea Gulls advance past today's match against Messiah, the men would continue their road to the national championship with sectionals next weekend.

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