"We scored when we got the opportunity," Vikings coach Bill Cappo said. "They carried the offense and had many more chances than we did but that's the way the game goes sometimes."
The goal came off a seemingly harmless free kick in which the ball bounced around a couple of Pioneers defenders and senior Jackie Pierson of Archbishop Wood. Pierson couldn't quite get a shot off, and the sophomore forward Brown got a foot on it. The ball rolled past the outstretched hands of Pioneers goalkeeper Laney Stenson.
The goal capped a busy afternoon for Messner, who had 12 saves.
The Vikings' defense, anchored by center-back Katherine Hennessey, a junior, and cocaptain Leah Check, a senior, contained the explosive Pioneers lineup. Check was tasked with marking Conestoga's star midfielder, Salina Williford, for most of the game.
Before Monday's game, the Pioneers had outscored opponents by 19-3 this season.
"We were so stable throughout the whole game. I couldn't thank [the defense] enough," Messner said. "If it weren't for them, I don't know where we would be."
From the onset of the game, Conestoga, the defending Central League champion, controlled the tempo but could not finish.
"We put a lot of shots on that were totally not on frame," Conestoga coach Meghan Brogan said. "We didn't finish well at all today. You have to score to win and we didn't do that."
By the second half things had gotten chippy, with the Pioneers continuing to dominate possession, as well as scoring chances and time spent in their offensive third.
"They were very technical up front and they were scaring me a little bit, but you have to stay confident - have confidence in your defense and have confidence in yourself," Messner said.
The last time these two teams met, Wood edged the Pioneers, 3-2, in the 2010 state semifinals - a game that was also decided in double overtime.
The game is the fourth of a tough start to the season for Archbishop Wood (3-1), the defending Catholic League champion, which has already played Lansdale Catholic, Council Rock South, and Council Rock North. The Vikings look to continue their momentum this Thursday, when they face off against Catholic League rival Archbishop Carroll.
Brogan called the game a learning experience for the Pioneers (4-1). Conestoga plays Upper Darby on Tuesday and Lower Merion on Friday.
Conestoga 0 0 0 0 - 0
Archbishop Wood 0 0 0 1 - 1
Goals: AW- Aubree Brown Saves: C- Stenson 3; AW- Messner 12