May 11, 2009

The Middlebury College women's lacrosse team picked up an 18-2 NCAA Tournament first-round win over Keene State on Kohn Field. Sophomores Chase Delano (Greenwich, Conn.) and Sally Ryan (Mountain Lakes, N.J.) sparked the Panther offense early, scoring the first nine goals of the game to give the Panthers a 9-0 lead at the 10:44 mark. Delano scored the game's first goal, followed by Ryan's first of the game cutting to the goal with a feed from junior Dana Heritage (Cheshire, Conn.). Delano netted her second with a bouncer from the outside, before Ryan ran off three straight tallies, including a free position goal. Heritage scored from Ryan at 15:53, before converting on a free position attempt. Ryan netted her fifth of the half with 10:44 remaining to give the Panthers a sizable lead early.

Seniors Lindsay McBride (Old Greenwich, Conn.) and Alice Demmerle (Greenwich, Conn.) increased the lead to 11-0 before Emily Persano scored from the outside after a feed from Jamie Albert to put the Owls on the board with 6:10 left in the half. McBride netted her second of the half, again with an assist from senior Katie Sparkes (Wayne, Pa.), to give Middlebury a 12-1 lead at the intermission.

First-year player Hannah Epstein (Pennington, N.J.) scored 51 seconds into the second half for Middlebury, before the Panthers slowed things down. Goals from rookie Stephanie Gill (Hingham, Mass.) and junior Lindsay Winstead (Chevy Chase, Md.) made it a 15-1 game with 11:36 remaining. Caitlyn Corace converted in transition from Missy Luzzi for Keene State's second goal of the game with 6:56 left to play. Winstead, Gill and Sparkes ended the game's scoring as Middlebury came away with the 18-2 win.

Ryan scored five goals and Delano netted four to pace the Panther offense, while Winstead, McBride and Gill each scored twice. Persano and Corace had goals for Keene State, as Amanda Keeley picked up three ground balls.

Middlebury outshot Keene State 35-7 in the game, holding a 20-13 edge in ground balls and a 15-6 lead in draw controls. Senior goalie Blair Bowie (Washington, D.C.) made a pair of saves in 45 minutes for Middlebury, while rookie Lily Nguyen (Oakland, Calif.) also made two stops in just 15 minutes of action. Jen Gearing ended the afternoon with 10 stops for the Owls.

Middlebury advanced to the NCAA Regional finals with a 9-3 win at Colby. The Mules had previously defeated Middlebury twice this season, once in March and again last weekend in the NESCAC semifinals. Colby ends its season with a 16-2 mark, while the Panthers improve to 11-5.

Middlebury took a 2-0 lead early in the contest, behind a pair of goals from Delano in the game's first 2:38, the second on a free position. Colby answered with a free position tally from Becky Julian, followed by an assist to Julian on a goal from Heather Nickerson at the 21:11 mark to knot the game at 2-2.

The Panthers closed the half on a five-goal run, including three in a 1:03 span to take a 7-2 lead at the intermission. Gill started the run, followed by goals from Heritage and Delano, both with assists to Ryan. Ryan and Delano netted the final two goals of the half, with assists going to Heritage.

The game slowed down in the second half as Middlebury outscored Colby 2-1 to come away with the 9-3 win. Amy Campbell scored the first of the half for Colby, while Delano netted her fifth and sixth goals of the game for the Panthers.

Bowie earned the win in goal for the Panthers, making six saves on the afternoon. Sarah Warnke made three saves in 44 minutes (8 GA) for Colby, while Keryn Meierdiercks made a stop in 16 minutes (1 GA) of action. Middlebury held a 20-16 edge in shots, controlled the ground balls 20-11, while also owning 10 of 14 draw controls.

Middlebury saw its season come to an end in an NCAA Regional Final game with Hamilton for the second straight season. After knocking off Colby in a second-round game, the Panthers fell 13-9 to the Continentals at Colby on Sunday. Middlebury ends its season at 11-6, while the defending NCAA Champions up their record to 16-2 and advance to the final four.

The Continentals last faced Middlebury (11-6) in a 2008 NCAA regional final at Hamilton, where the Continentals also prevailed, 9-7. The ninth-ranked Panthers, who advanced to the national semifinals 14 years in a row from 1994 to 2007, now have a 38-11 record in the tournament.

Hamilton was led by Liz Rave and her career-high five goals and one assist. Kaillie Briscoe chipped in three goals and one assist. Five other Continentals registered one goal each. Anne Graveley picked up four ground balls and Kate Marek won four draw controls. Kate Fowler made a career-high 14 saves -- seven in each half.

McBride came off the Middlebury bench to score four goals and assist on another. Delano added four goals and Dana Heritage contributed one goal and one assist. Sophomore Taylor Brown (Englewood, Colo.) caused five of Hamilton's 20 turnovers and Gill scooped up a game-high five ground balls. Bowie stopped five shots in goal.

Libby Schultz gave the Continentals a 1-0 lead 3:10 into the first half. The Panthers grabbed their only lead on goals by Delano and Heritage that made the score 2-1 with 16:21 left. Audrey Nebergall started a 6-0 run with 15:01 remaining when she scored on a pass from Briscoe. Rave had two goals and an assist during the spurt. She fed Graveley with 9:20 left for a 7-2 lead and the Continentals never trailed again.

Hamilton turned an 8-4 halftime advantage into an 11-4 lead with three straight goals at the start of the second half. Rave scored twice and Briscoe added an unassisted goal and the Continentals enjoyed a comfortable seven-goal advantage with 22:04 remaining.

Middlebury pulled within four goals at 12-8 on a goal by Delano with 10:32 left, but Rave all but clinched the Hamilton victory with her fifth goal with 5:06 remaining. Delano accounted for the final 13-9 margin with her fourth goal on an assist from senior Taryn Petrelli (Harrison, N.Y.) with 2:15 left. The Panthers held a 29-20 advantage in shots.
. Women's lacrosse final record: 11-6