November 16, 2011

The Middlebury College field hockey team advanced to the NCAA final four after a 1-0 win over Amherst at Skidmore in an NCAA Regional Final contest. The Panthers advance to next weekend’s semifinal round, where they will take on Bowdoin on Saturday, November 19, at 11 a.m. at Nichols College. Ursinus meets TCNJ in the other contest at 2 p.m. The Panthers improve to 16-3 and head to their sixth semifinal appearance, their first since 2007. The Lord Jeffs season comes to an end with a 15-4 record.

Amherst controlled the tempo offensively in the first half, earning eight penalty corners compared to two for Middlebury, but was unable to convert as the teams remained in a scoreless tie at the break.

The Lord Jeffs came out strong early in the second half, but were unable to solve Panther senior keeper Becca Shaw (S. Burlington, Vt.). The teams continued to play strong defensively before Middlebury finally broke through at the 54:54 mark.

Junior Lauren Greer (N. Hampton, N.H.), the nation’s leading scorer, put a shot on goal that was turned away by Amherst goalie Rachel Tannenbaum. Greer corralled the rebound and converted on her second chance for her 34th goal of the season.

The Lord Jeffs tried to get the equalizer late with four corners over the final 6:17, but the Panther defense held strong and conserved the lead to earn the 1-0 victory.

Shaw finished with eight saves to record her second shutout of the season, while Tannenbaum finished with five stops on six shots. Amherst outshot Middlebury 14-8 and held a 16-5 advantage in penalty corners.

In their first game of the weekend, Greer had a pair of goals to lead Middlebury to a 2-1 victory over Franklin & Marshall.

Greer put Middlebury in front early. She took a pass from senior Lucy Jackson (Bronxville, N.Y.) off a penalty corner, found an opening in the center of the circle, and slammed the ball home to make it 1-0 at the 2:34 mark.

Franklin & Marshall answered right back at 4:23 when Becky Willert tied it up with her 29th goal of the season. Willert deflected a centering pass from Maura Hennigan that beat Shaw.

Neither team was able to find an offensive rhythm for the rest of the first half, leaving the teams tied 1-1 at the break. In the second half, both teams were attacking offensively, but were unable to score. 

A Diplomats yellow card at 57:07, gave the Panthers a 5:00 one-player advantage. The Panthers capitalized at 60:40 when first-year player Catherine Fowler (Grosse Pt., Mich.) centered a pass to Greer who found the back of the cage for the eventual game-winning goal, her 33rd of the season.

Franklin & Marshall was able to earn several corners late, but could not take advantage as Middlebury hung on for the 2-1 win.

Shaw finished with two saves, while Avery Koep made five stops for the Diplomats.

The Panthers outshot Franklin & Marshall 9-7, while the Diplomats held a 15-7 advantage in penalty corners.
• Field hockey record: 16-3
• Up next: 11/19 vs. Bowdoin @ Nichols – 11 (NCAA Semifinals), 11/20 – Championship – 1:00