Mendham’s Messinger helps North Carolina to NCAA title

Morriscountylacrosse

In just her freshman year Mendham’s Aly Messinger found out what it’s like to be a National Champion.

Messinger scored three goals to help the University of North Carolina to a 13-12 triple overtime victory over top-seeded and previously unbeaten Maryland on Sunday for the NCAA Division I title.

Another freshman Sammy Jo Tracy scored with 5:29 left in the third overtime to give the Tar Heels a sudden-victory title. The contest was the longest game in NCAA Division I Women’s Lacrosse Tournament history. It was also the Tar Heels’ first national championship in women’s lacrosse.

Her three goals tied the most goals she had scored in a college contest this spring. Messinger helped get North Carolina off to a great start in the title game held in Villanova, Pa. She scored the opening goal, an unassisted effort 39 seconds into the contest to help the Tar Heels build an early lead. She also scored a 23:44 to give North Carolina a 4-1 edge and connected off a Karen Cannizzaro pass at 18:36 of the first half to make it 5-2.

Overall, the 5-foot-4 inch attack player connected on three of the four shots she put on goal. Her fourth shot on goal — which was saved by Maryland goalie Kasey Howard — came during the second overtime period.

73 gl memlAlly Messinger, left, last season when she was scoring goals for Mendham. On Sunday she scored three goals for North Carolina to help the Tar Heels win a National Championship. (Photo by Mark Kitchin)

Messinger is part of a strong 10-player freshman contingent which included Tracy and starting goalkeeper Megan Ward that was considered among the top five in the nation. Being part of such a talented group made it easy for the former Mendham standout to ease into college play and help North Carolina to an 18-3 season and its first title.

“I think we just believed in ourselves,” Messinger was quoted in a Daily Record article. “Even though (Maryland) would get up and stayed in the game, we just had to stay in it and just put all our heart in it to win and we just did that.”

Overall, Messinger’s freshman season has been a brilliant one. Messinger started in 17 of 21 games for North Carolina. She finished the season with 31 goals and 15 assists. She took 67 shots in all and connected on more than 46 percent of them. Her performance earned her a spot on the All-American Rookie Team.

Her performance is not surprising to those that remember her days at Mendham. In her senior season with the Minutemen in 2012 she had 100 goals and 77 assists and was an All-American selection.

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About mcvbb

Mark Kitchin is a boys varsity basketball writer for the Morris County New Jersey area

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