"It is very, very, challenging," Annette Messner said of being the goalkeeper's mother. "It's nerve-racking. I end up gripping the arm rails."
It was the second time in three years that the Messners watched as Deanna and the Vikings played for a chance at a state championship. Wood also lost in the Class AAA state title game in 2010.
"I don't have a voice," Don Messner said. "I'm proud as anything. It's been a great ride."
Deanna Messner, who split time in net as a freshman before eventually becoming the full-time starter, has been part of an Archbishop Wood squad that has had a lot of success over the last few seasons. Since her freshman year, the Vikings have won 58 games and lost only six in a three-year span.
In 2010 and 2011, the Vikings won the Catholic League and PIAA District 12 Class AAA championships, earning bids to the state tournament.
"Coming in to this game I was more confident and knew what to expect," Messner said of her second try at a state title. "I came in knowing it was going to be a tough match. Hopefully we will be here again next year."
The Vikings went down a goal with 15 minutes remaining in the first half. Wood battled to get the equalizer. Messner watched while her team pressed with just a few minutes left in the game. At one point, the goalkeeper was almost at midfield, directing her teammates and calling for the ball from far beyond her net.
"I was praying for one simple goal just to get to overtime," Messner said after the game. "I wouldn't have even minded overtime."
While Messner may not have minded overtime, that is the most stressful time for her parents.
"She's actually comfortable with penalty kicks," Annette Messner said. "Overtime is the worst. That's when it comes down to grit work."
While there may not be as many pictures of Messner playing soccer as her father would like, there is one in particular that is special to him. It's from her freshman year, taken after Wood beat Pennridge on penalty kicks, and her teammates swarmed her, showering her with hugs.
The key word there is "after." Don Messner was busy watching as Deanna saved the shot.
Contact Kate Harman at firstname.lastname@example.org.