April 27, 2009

The Middlebury College women's lacrosse team jumped out to a 6-1 lead and never looked back, on its way to an 18-4 win over Bates in a NESCAC Quarterfinal game played on Kohn Field. The Panthers (9-4) advanced to the semifinals next weekend at Tufts, while Bates ends its season at 8-8. Middlebury will battle Colby in one semifinal next Saturday at 2:30 p.m., while the host school will take on Williams at noon. The title game is slated for noon on Sunday.

With the game tied at one, Middlebury ran off five straight goals over a 10 minute span to take a 6-1 lead. Sophomore Chase Delano (Greenwich, Conn.) opened the run, followed by a free position goal from sophomore Sally Ryan (Mountain Lakes, N.J.) and a nice feed from Delano to junior Dana Heritage (Cheshire, Conn.) for a 4-1 advantage. Following a pair of tallies, Bates ended the streak as Briana Gross netted her 23rd of the season. The Panthers answered with a 3-0 spurt to end the first half, taking a 9-2 lead into the intermission. Ryan scored the first two with assists from Heritage, while Heritage converted a free position tally to end the first half.

Ryan netted her fifth of the game on a free position to open the second half scoring. First-year player Elizabeth Garry (Mamaroneck, N.Y.) scored on a quick-stick feed from Heritage, before senior Alice Demmerle (Greenwich, Conn.) found the back of the net to make it a 12-2 game with 21:02 remaining. Caroline Thomas netted her 46th of the year for the Bobcats at the 16:54 mark, as Middlebury followed with a 4-0 run to take a 16-3 lead with 6:35 left to play. Heritage scored twice during the run that featured Middlebury's fourth and fifth free position goals of the game. Gross scored her second of the game for Bates with 5:15 remaining, before senior Katie Sparkes (Wayne, Pa.) and rookie Stephanie Gill (Hingham, Mass.) scored for the Panthers to make it an 18-4 final.

Ryan ended the day with a six-goal effort to go along with an assist, while Heritage scored four with three helpers. Garry netted a pair of goals in the win, as senior Blair Bowie (Washington, D.C.) was forced to make just two saves in goal. First-year keeper Lily Nguyen (Oakland, Calif.) also earned a pair of saves, playing the final 2:46 of the contest for the Panthers. Sophomore Taylor Brown (Englewood, Colo.) had a solid game for the Panthers, scooping up five ground balls and causing four turnovers on the afternoon. Thomas and Gross each scored twice for Bates, as Mara Krueger made nine saves between the pipes.

Earlier in the week Middlebury wrapped-up its regular season with an 18-12 at Williams. Middlebury jumped out to an 8-0 lead in the game and never looked back. Williams got on the board to make it 8-1 before the Panthers netted three more to take an 11-1 lead, and an eventual 14-7 lead into the intermission. Middlebury kept up the pressure in the second half and emerged with the 18-12 victory.

Ryan led the Panthers with four goals and two assists, while Delano scored four times. Heritage and senior Caroline Kirkendoll (Telluride, Colo.) each scored three goals and earned two helpers, while Garry had a goal and an assist. Bowie made a dozen saves in goal to earn the win.
. Women's lacrosse record: 9-4
. Up next: 5/2 vs. Colby @ Tufts - 2:30, if win - 5/3 - NESCAC Championship - 12:00