November 3, 2008

The Panther field hockey team defeated Williams for the second time in three days, as Middlebury ended the Ephs season with a 2-1 victory on Kohn Field in a NESCAC Quarterfinal contest. Middlebury advances to play Bowdoin in a semifinal contest next Saturday at Tufts (1:30), while the host school meets Trinity in the other semifinal matchup (11:00). The winners will battle for the NESCAC Championship at noon on Sunday.

Middlebury controlled play in the first half, holding an 11-1 shots advantage over Williams. The Panthers finally broke through with just 2:45 remaining in the session, on their ninth penalty corner of the game. Sophomore Chase Delano (Greenwich, Conn.) finished off a flurry, after shots by junior Mullery Doar (Winnetka, Ill.) and sophomore Allison Grant (Louisville, Ky.) had been saved by Katrina Tulla.

The Panthers doubled their lead on another penalty corner goal in the second half, this one with 22:24 remaining. Delano carried the ball towards the goal and around a defender before scoring her team-leading 23rd goal of the season, tying a Middlebury single-season record.

Williams did not go away in the second half as they pressured the Panthers with seven penalty corners. The Ephs cut the lead in half with 16:31 left as Jess Overlander took a corner pass and drove to the goal before finishing with a shot to the back of the cage.

The Ephs kept up the pressure, but Middlebury came up with some offense of its own as they came away with the 2-1 victory. Senior goalkeeper Caitlin Pentifallo (River Edge, N.J.) made a pair of saves to earn the win, while Tulla made seven stops for the Ephs.

Middlebury ended the regular season with a 3-2 double overtime win at Williams in the final regular season game for both teams on Friday.

The Ephs opening goal was scored in the first five minutes of the game on a penalty corner by Meighan McGowan. Middlebury responded to the goal with 10 minutes left on the clock with a goal from Delano on a pass by Grant. Rebecca Gilbert gave the Ephs a 2-1 lead with a goal just before the half.

Delano struck again for Middlebury in the second half with an assist from Grant on a penalty corner. The game remained at 2-2, forcing it into overtime. Following a scoreless first overtime period, Delano and Grant connected again, this time with Grant scoring the game-winner.

Middlebury held a 23-11 shots advantage in the game, while holding a 14-9 lead in penalty corners. Pentifallo made six saves in goal, while Katrina Tulla made 11 stops for the Ephs.

Earlier in the week, Middlebury netted a goal in each half and held on to defeat Rensselaer at Harkness Field in N.Y.

Delano opened the scoring in the 11th minute as she collected her own rebound and buried a shot from 15 yards out.

The Panthers finished the first half with an edge in both shots (14-6) and corners (4-1), while the Red Hawks drew more fouls at a 21-15 clip.

Senior Lindsay McBride (Old Greenwich, Conn.) expanded Middlebury's lead to 2-0 in the 50th minute. A Panthers' corner was deflected towards the top of the scoring arc, where Doar was waiting. Her shot was saved by RPI netminder Sarah Burcher, but McBride was there to finish the rebound.

The Red Hawks generated a number of chances to score in the second frame, but could not solve Pentifallo, who finished with five saves. Burcher, who was making her fourth ever start, finished with a career-high 12 stops.
. Field hockey record: 13-2
. Up next: 11/8 vs. Bowdoin - NESCAC Semifinals - 1:30, Trinity vs. Tufts - 11 (at Tufts) - 11/9 - NESCAC Championship - 12:00