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Grove City and Messiah gathered for a word of prayer following Saturday's game. 

Taking "The High" road 

GROVE CITY, PA, September 8, 2001--If ever a loss felt something like a win, it was today.

The Grove City College men's soccer team and defending NCAA Division III champion Messiah College, two of the nation's premier Christian schools, entertained an overflow crowd of 350 at the College Field with a hard-fought, clean-cut battle for 90 solid minutes.  No cheap shots, no foul language, no nonsense, period.  In the end, Messiah, 22-2-1 a year ago, scored twice in the second half to post a 2-0 victory.

"This was a great soccer game," said Dr. Don Lyle, in his 30th season as head coach of the Wolverines.  "What you had were two teams with a mutual respect for one another playing ultimately to glorify God.  I'm very proud of the way our team played today.  They have a knack for elevating their game against the top programs in the country."

Case in point, last year when the Wolverines dealt the Falcons one of their two defeats, winning at Messiah, 2-0, on a pair of goals by Andy Shockey (Mechanicsburg, PA/Cumberland Valley).  

This year, it was Shockey's defense that kept the Wolverines alive.  The senior sweeper, along with his back-line mates, junior Nate Burgess (Richmond, VA/The Collegiate) and sophomore Mike Koper (North Huntingdon, PA/Norwin), faced pressure all afternoon, providing some relief for junior goalkeeper Brad Smith (North Huntingdon, PA/Norwin), who was credited with 10 saves, including several dazzling diving stops.  Senior captain Sam Coffman (Scottdale, PA/Southmoreland) also swarmed to the ball on defense and started several breaks.

"We knew the pressure would be on," added Lyle.  "I think we gave it our best.  When you play the top-ranked team in the country, you can't give any less."

Messiah, with 10 starters back this season, broke a 0-0 halftime score with a goal off a direct kick in the 49th minute.  The Falcons padded their lead in the 82nd minute when a breakdown in the box allowed the ball to dribble over the end line. 

Grove City fell to 2-1 overall.  Messiah, now 3-0 on the year, defeated its previous two opponents by 8-0 finals. 

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