May 16, 2011

            The Middlebury College women's lacrosse team outscored Ithaca 7-2 in the second half on its way to a 14-7 win over the Bombers (11-7) in an NCAA Tournament first-round game on Kohn Field.

            Middlebury came out flying, taking a 4-0 lead 6:22 into the game. Senior Chase Delano (Greenwich, Conn.) set-up junior Stephanie Gill (Hingham, Mass.) for a quick-stick goal before netting one of her own driving to the goal. Senior Sally Ryan (Mountain Lakes, N.J.) scored the next two to cap the quick start.

            Ithaca’s Tracy Rivas converted a free position goal at 22:55, before Gill answered from Delano with a goal much-like their first connection.

            The Bombers came on strong, scoring the game’s next three goals to make it a 6-4 contest. Rivas netted her second before Ali DeCirce found Nikki Dahl on a free position and then scored one of her own during the run. Middlebury answered with a pair before Nicole Borisenok scored for Ithaca to make it a 7-5 game at the half.

            Middlebury took a comfortable lead early in the second half with three goals in the first 6:58. Gill scored with a sidearm shot, Ryan drove to the goal from the top of the zone, before Gill scored again, converting a pass from behind the net by Delano.

            Rivas scored her third of the game cutting to the goal to end the Middlebury run, with DeCirce scoring her second at the 17:22 mark to make it a 10-7 game.

            Four different players scored for Middlebury down the stretch, making it a 14-7 final.

            Gill paced the team with five goals, followed by Ryan with three and sophomore Margaret Souther (Scarsdale, N.Y.) with a pair. Delano dished out a game-high three assists, while Hilary Walker finished the game with four caused turnovers. Rookie Alyssa Palomba (Shrewsbury, Mass.) made five saves in goal to pick up the win.

            Rivas paced Ithaca with three, followed by DeCirce with a pair as Jess Worthman made nine stops between the pipes.

            On Saturday, Middlebury took undefeated Trinity (18-0) into overtime, but the Bantams came away with an 11-10 win in an NCAA Regional game at Trinity. Trinity sophomore Hadley Duncan scored all three of her goals in the last 8:26 of the game, including the game-tying goal with 35 seconds left in regulation to force overtime. She then netted the clincher with 44 seconds left in the first half of the extra period to give the Bantams the win. Middlebury, ranked No. 14 nationally, closes its year with an 11-6 record. 

            Trinity led, 6-3, at the break, including four first-half tallies by sophomore midfielder Megan Leonhard and a goal by freshman attacker Shea Kusiak on a free position with 37 seconds left before halftime.  Middlebury burst out for four consecutive scores during a 4:22 span early in the second half, as Ryan scored twice in less than a minute and fed junior Elizabeth Garry (Mamaroneck, N.Y.) and Gill moments later to give the Panthers their first lead of the game at 7-6 with 16:25 left in the second half. 

            Middlebury nearly added to its lead at the 12:37, but Trinity sophomore goalie Olivia Whitney made a key stop on a free position shot by Ryan.  Bantam freshman Lyndsey Shepard picked up the ground ball and advanced it down the field, leading to a game-tying tally by senior co-captain attacker Rachel Romanowsky on a wrap-around move behind the goal with 10:34 remaining.  Duncan scored her first goal of the game on a driving spin move in traffic to give Trinity an 8-7 lead with 8:26 left, but Ryan beat Whitney low on a free position and sophomore Ellen Halle (Upperco, Md.) came from behind the goal to put Middlebury back ahead at 9-8 with 4:10 left to play.

            Middlebury senior midfielder Hilary Walker (Denver, Colo.) won the ensuing draw and the Panthers held possession for over three minutes before a Panther turnover gave the Bantams the ball with 46 seconds on the clock. Duncan earned a free position and whipped the ball in past Panther junior goalie Lily Nguyen (Oakland, Calif.) to tie it at 9-9.  Middlebury won the draw again and Ryan got a decent look from the right wing, but Whitney stopped her bouncing shot as the horn went off. 

            In overtime, Duncan used a similar spin move from her first goal to slice her way in from the left wing and shot past Nguyen to give Trinity a 10-9 lead.  Bantam junior defender Elizabeth Beckler controlled the next draw, and Kusiak came up with the ball to start the second session, leaving Middlebury without a chance to tie the rest of the way.

            Trinity held a 26-19 edge on shots but Middlebury won 14 of 23 draws.  Duncan added an assist to tie Leonhard for the team lead with four points, while Kusiak scored twice, and Romanowsky finished with a pair of assists. Leonhard also paced Trinity with four draw controls and Whitney totaled five saves and two ground balls.  Ryan led all scorers with three goals and two assists, while Gill added a pair of goals, and a game-high five draw controls.  Nguyen made nine stops and scooped three ground balls for the Panthers.

• Women’s lacrosse final record: 11-6