November 12, 2012

Misericordia’s Sam Helmsetter’s marker in the 21st minute stood up as the game-winning goal as she helped lift the #10 Cougars to a 1-0 triumph over #15 Middlebury in the second round of the NCAA Tournament on Dragone Field.

Misericordia, who runs its streak to 11 consecutive matches, makes their first-ever NCAA Sectionals appearance. The Panthers end their fine season at 13-3-1 with the setback in their seventh NCAA Tournament appearance.

After Middlebury failed to capitalize on a couple of early chances to get on the scoreboard, the Cougars scored on a breakaway.

Laura Roney set the table with a pass from the middle of the box to Helmsetter, who slipped past two defenders and buried a shot to the bottom left corner for her team-leading 18th tally of the campaign.

The Panthers had two good looks by junior Scarlett Kirk (San Francisco, Calif.) in the final 15 minutes of the opening stanza, but could not tie the game.

In the 32nd minute, Kirk shrugged off a pair of backs to rip a shot from 10 yards away, but she was denied by Misericordia keeper Maureen Ciccosanti as the netminder made a sliding stop to deflect the ball out of harm’s way.

As the period wound down, Kirk’s other bid came on a header on the right side of the box, but it was kicked away by Angelina Buzgo for the key team-save.

In the 62nd minute Kirk had another open look, but her bicycle kick had too much strength and it sailed over the net.

Misericordia had a golden opportunity on a corner kick five minutes later, but Middlebury junior keeper Elizabeth Foody (Ottawa, Ont.) made a great play to snatch the ricochet off of one of her defenders.

Middlebury’s final chance came with 11 minutes to go in regulation when Kirk received a cross from the middle of the box from junior Julia Favorito (Winchester, Mass.), but the ball trickled just to the left of the net.

Ciccosanti, who came into the national tournament as one of six first-year players in the nation to crack the top 20 in goals against average (0.39), blanked her 10th opponent of the season. She ended the contest stopping all nine of the shots she saw on net.

Foody collected two stops in the setback for the Panthers.

Middlebury had a frustrating afternoon as they finished with a commanding 23-5 edge in shots (10-3 on goal), while Misericordia held the 3-1 lead in corner kicks. 

Kirk highlighted thee different scorers for Middlebury with the match-clinching goal, as the Panthers defeated Castleton State 3-1 in the opening round of the NCAA Division Tournament on Dragone Field on Saturday.

Both squads had their chances over the first 30 minutes of play, but it was senior Colby Gibbs (Cheshire, Conn.) who broke the scoreless game with 9:20 remaining on the clock in the first half for the Panthers.

Sophomore Carter Talgo (Rye, N.Y.) sent in a corner kick from the right side and Gibbs headed it to the top right corner for her third goal of the campaign past Castleton netminder Kaleigh Newton.

Kirk put the hosts on top 2-0 for the eventual game-winner in the 56th minute. Senior Amy Schlueter (San Francisco, Calif.) sent a pass over from the right side and Kirk deposited her shot from the middle of the box into the bottom left corner for her squad-best 10th of the season.

Castleton State broke through the defense in the 64th minute. Mallory Costello notched her team-leading 20th marker of the year after she hit home a blast from 15 yards out on a cross from the right side of the field from Sami Ritter.

In the 71st minute, the Panthers tacked on an insurance goal when rookie Hannah Robinson (Merion Station, Pa.) deflected a ball into the net off a laser from classmate Jamie Soroka (Redondo Beach, Calif.) for her third marker of the year for the final score.

Foody collected two saves in the win for Middlebury while Newton and Sarah Shilstone combined to stop seven shots in the setback for the visitors.

For the game Middlebury held a 23-7 advantage in shots – including a 15-2 edge in the final stanza – and the 8-1 lead in corners.

• Women’s soccer final record: 13-3-1