March 12, 2012

The Middlebury College women’s lacrosse team started a 5-0 run late in the first half to pull away from No. 18 Bates women's lacrosse team for a 12-7 win Saturday at Garcelon Field, in the NESCAC opener for both teams. The ninth-ranked Panthers, who were playing their season-opener, return to action at Connecticut College next Saturday.

First-year player Kate Ritter (Middlebury, Vt.) scored four goals and added one assist for Middlebury, while junior Margaret Souther (Scarsdale, N.Y.) and senior Elizabeth Garry (Mamaroneck, N.Y.) added two scores and an assist apiece.

Joan O'Neill scored three goals and assisted on another to lead the Bobcats (1-1, 0-1 NESCAC), but the stingy Panther defense was able to limit the 2011 NESCAC scoring champion to just five shots in the game. Blair Shrewsbury also scored three goals for Bates, a career high for the sophomore.

Middlebury collected 26 of 37 ground balls in the game, and outshot Bates by a 30-16 margin.

Middlebury built a 5-1 lead through the first 18 minutes of the game, as the Bobcats struggled to clear the ball out of their own end and could only get a goal on a free-position shot by Jenna Dannis. Garry capitalized on a Bates yellow card by scoring a man-up goal at the 19:59 mark, followed by unassisted goals by Ritter, senior Stephanie Gill (Hingham, Mass.) and junior Ellen Halle (Upperco, Md.). Bates slowed Middlebury's offense down and then closed the gap with goals by O'Neill and Shrewsbury. O'Neill found Shrewsbury with 4:43 left in the half to make it 5-3.

Middlebury answered quickly with a goal by sophomore Liza Herzog (Baltimore, Md.) with 4:06 remaining, right off the draw, and the Panthers rode their momentum with a goal by Souther just 11 seconds later. Middlebury then won its third straight draw, and with 2:21 left, Ritter made it 8-3 for Middlebury at intermission.

Bates slowed Middlebury's offense again to start the second half, but the Bobcats couldn't make up any ground before Garry and Ritter scored on free-position shots to expand the lead to 10-3. Shrewsbury and O'Neill scored 8-meter shots for the Bobcats to cut the margin back to five, at 10-5, but it was as close as Bates would get the rest of the way.

Bates goalie Eloise O'Connor made a career-high 12 saves, while senior Lily Nguyen (Oakland, Calif.) stopped six shots for the Panthers.
• Women’s lacrosse record: 1-0
• Up next: 3/17 @ Conn. College – 12:00