WOMEN'S SOCCER FALLS IN NESCAC TITLE GAME - TEAM TO HOST NCAA REGIONAL
November 9, 2009
The Middlebury College women's soccer team earned an at-large bid to the NCAA Tournament and will host a regional on November 14th and 15th. The Panthers will take on Husson in one match-up, while Wheaton meets Richard Stockton in the other regional contest. The winners will meet in the regional final on Sunday.
Middlebury saw its hopes of a third NESCAC Championship fall short as the Panthers dropped a 3-2 contest at Williams. Middlebury's record fell to 13-2-2 on the season, while Williams remained undefeated at 17-0 and earned an automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament.
The two squads faced off in the final game of their regular season on October 30, 2009 with Williams taking the contest by a 1-0 margin. Sarah Walmsley tallied a late-goal in the 87th- minute to win a game that the Panthers dominated. In the championship game, Williams and Middlebury switched momentum often with the Ephs controlling much of the first third and last third of the game. The Panthers took the momentum in the middle of the game, when they scored two goals to tie and take the lead for just over 15 minutes.
Williams sophomore Bret Eisenhart tallied two goals, putting her squad up first in the 25th minute of play. Eisenhart and teammate Brianna Wolfson found themselves in a 2-on-1 match up against a lone Middlebury defender. Wolfson drew the defender in, and then flicked the ball to an open Eisenhart who ripped a fast-paced shot to the middle of the net for the 1-0 lead.
Middlebury responded nine minutes later with one of their first offensive opportunities of the game. First-year player Rachel Madding (Hillsborough, Calif.) corralled a corner kick, and attempted to head the ball to net. Senior teammate Anne Ford (Dexter, Mich.) intercepted the ball with another header, and directed it towards goal to knot the game, 1-1. The Panthers proceeded to silence the home crowd by taking the lead at 55:09. Junior Annie Rowell (Craftsbury, Vt.) scored her team-leading 11th goal of the season as she laced a low shot to the back left corner for the 2-1 advantage.
Williams played from behind for 15 minutes before gaining momentum once again. At 71:24, Walmsley scored off a fast-break sequence to even the game at two goals apiece. Nicole Stenquist dribbled towards the Panther net and quickly spotted an undefended Walmsley on her left. Stenquist played a solid pass to her teammate, who proceeded to take an open shot for the goal.
Momentum began to shift back towards the Ephs, and the home team regained the lead just eight minutes later off another sequence between Eisenhart and Wolfson. Wolfson played a cross from the left side towards a crowd of players in front of the net. The ball began to trail past the far post as Eisenhart read its path and retreated towards the ball. She kicked the ball back towards the left post for what would become the game-winning goal.
Statistically, Middlebury and Williams were on par, taking 11 and 12 shots respectively. Lauren Sinnenberg recorded five saves in the win, while junior keeper Lauryn Torch (Bronxville, N.Y.) tallied three saves for Middlebury.
Middlebury advanced to the title game with a 1-0 victory over Amherst at Williams. Senior Jenny Galgano (Wyckoff, N.J.) headed in a corner kick from senior Margaret Owen (Bozeman, Mont.) early in the second half for the game's only goal. The tally, coming at the 49:36 mark, was the first of the season for the Middlebury defender.
Saturday's semifinal was a physical battle, with 31 total fouls called. With the game still scoreless in the game's 50th minute, Middlebury was awarded a corner kick. Owen served a high-arching, well-placed ball into the box, and Galgano, who moved up for the re-start, leaped high into the air, flicking the ball into the left side of the net from about eight yards out.
Middlebury's defense was strong for a full 90 minutes, but Amherst did have a wonderful opportunity to tie the match with 31:30 left. Hannah Cooper ran onto a loose ball on the left flank, made a cut back and lofted a hard shot that caromed off the crossbar.
Torch later made an exceptional play off a direct kick by Amherst's Jill Kochanek's from 30 yards out, punching the ball back upfield and out of harm's way.
Torch finished with seven saves in the game while Jeffs keeper Allie Horwitz made four.
The first half was extremely well contested. Both teams came up with scoring opportunities, but the half was more marked by its physical play, blocked shots and 50-50 balls.
In the game's 28th minute, Amherst's Meg Murphy booted a well-struck ball into the box. Off the ensuing scramble, teammate Jackie Hirsch fired off a shot that was blocked. Kyla Woodhouse collected the rebound, but her follow-up shot was wide.
Late in the half, just 6:05 remained, the Panthers nearly got on the board when Rowell chipped a great ball from 12 yards out over the head of Horwitz and just over the crossbar.
. Women's soccer record: 12-3-2
. Up next: 11/14 vs. Husson - 11, R. Stockton vs. Wheaton - 1:30 (NCAA Regional)
11/15 - NCAA Regional Final - 1:00