March 29, 2010

The Middlebury College women's lacrosse team enjoyed an impressive week, picking up three victories. The week ended as Middlebury scored seven of eight goals during a 20-minute stretch, earning a 14-6 win over Connecticut College in a game played on Kohn Field.

            Middlebury came out firing, jumping out to a 4-0 lead in the game's first 6:18. Senior Dana Heritage (Cheshire, Conn.) scored the final two goals during the opening run, including one on a free position shot.

            Connecticut College answered right back, scoring the next three goals to make it a 4-3 game at the 16:48 mark. The Panthers scored four of the next five goals to take an 8-4 lead into the intermission. The Camels had several free position shots in the first half, but were only able to convert 1-5, while the Panthers cashed in on three of four chances.

            Middlebury took a commanding 11-4 lead in the first 3:04 of the second half. Rookie Margaret Souther (Scarsdale, N.Y.) scored the third of her three goals during the run, as did junior Sally Ryan (Mountain Lakes, N.J.). Abby Hill answered for Conn., while Heritage scored her game-high fourth goal at the 23:21 mark to make it a 12-5 game. Rookie Michaela Colbert (Topsfield, Mass.) scored the next two goals on free position shots, while Hill closed out the scoring with her second of the game.

            Heritage's four goals led Middlebury, followed by three apiece from Souther and Ryan and a pair from Colbert. Senior Catherine Gotwald (Alexandria, Va.) caused three turnovers and picked up four ground balls in the win.

            Connecticut College held a 31-26 advantage in shots, including an 18-9 margin in the second half. Middlebury sophomore keeper Lily Nguyen (Oakland, Calif.) was solid, making 15 saves before giving way to sophomore Becca Shaw (S. Burlington, Vt.) who played the final few minutes of the contest. Ashleigh Kowtoniuk ended the game with four saves for the Camels. Conn. went 1-11 on free position opportunities, while Middlebury ended the game 5-6.

Middlebury held off a late charge by Buffalo State (3-2), earning an 11-10 win over the Bengals in a game played at Rensselaer on Friday.

Middlebury built a 7-3 first half lead behind two goals apiece from sophomore Elizabeth Garry (Mamaroneck, N.Y.) and Souther. The Panthers entered the halftime break with an 8-5 lead, with Souther adding her third of the half.

Middlebury led 9-6 in the second half, before Buffalo State scored three straight to tie the game at 9-9 with 11:27 left to play. The Panthers answered with a free position goal from Heritage and a tally from senior Lindsay Winstead (Chevy Chase, Md.) to take an 11-9 lead at the 2:27 mark. The Bengals added a late goal to make it an 11-10 final.

Souther led the Panthers with three, while Heritage, Winstead and Garry added two goals apiece. Nguyen made five saves in goal to earn the win.

After dropping its season-opener, Middlebury got back on track with an impressive 10-8 road win at second-ranked Gettysburg on Tuesday. The Panthers saw the Bullets go on a four-goal run to pull within 10-8, but the 10th-ranked Panthers held on the for the win. 

            The game ended as a thriller, but the Panthers managed to control most of the action early with an efficient effort on the offensive end. After senior Jessica Crane broke the egg with the opening goal at 25:39, Middlebury scored on 10 of its next 15 shot attempts, taking a 10-4 advantage on a hook-up by Heritage and junior Chase Delano (Greenwich, Conn.) with 18:11 remaining in the contest.

Senior Hollis Stahl began Gettysburg's comeback with a free-position score at 16:27. Middlebury attempted to stall during the remaining time, but the Bullets kept after the ball and forced the Panthers into turnovers, which in turn developed into scores. Seniors Lexie Hearn and Nina Emala put in two more free-position goals to pull the Bullets to 10-7 with 4:43 left.

Gettysburg goalie Kristen Krammer tried to help on the defensive end by double-teaming the ball around the goal, but Delano took advantage of the unmanned net and bounced the ball into the cage, appearing to give Middlebury a four-goal advantage. The score was wiped away, however, when her stick was found to be illegal before the next draw. The Bullets took advantage as sophomore Hannah Church scored on a free position shot to pull to 10-8 with 2:09 to play.

The hosts won the next draw, but turned the ball over before taking a shot. Middlebury was unable to clear the ball up the field as Stahl forced a turnover, picked up the ground ball, and dished off the pass to Emala in front of the goal circle. Emala's shot was stopped cold by Nguyen and the ball skidded away with around 40 seconds left.

Gettysburg corralled the loose ball and took two more stabs at the goal. Junior Marnie Commins missed wide on a free position attempt and Stahl was thwarted yet again by Nguyen. The Panthers managed to gain control and avoided any miscues over the remaining 20 seconds.

On paper, Gettysburg had the advantage in shots (29-18) and ground balls (14-13) and forced Middlebury into 17 turnovers, eight of which came on clear attempts (14-22).

What stopped the Bullets was a big day from Nguyen in goal. The Panthers' sophomore keeper stonewalled a dozen shot attempts, including eight in the second half alone. Delano provided the bulk of the offense with four goals and one assist, while Heritage lit the lamp three times. Rookie Neile Weeks (Baltimore, Md.) was a force on the defensive side of the field for Middlebury with five ground balls and three caused turnovers.

• Women's lacrosse record: 4-1

• Up next: 4/1 @ Babson, 4/3 vs. Colby - 12:00