Panthers Fall To William Smith In NCAA Regional

November 11, 2006

The Panther field hockey team saw its season come to an end as they fell 2-1 to William Smith in an NCAA Regional contest at Bowdoin. Middlebury finishes the year at 14-4, while William Smith will meet Bowdoin in the regional final on Sunday.

Middlebury had several strong chances to score in the opening minutes, but a defensive save by William Smith's Charlotte Styer kept the Panthers off the scoreboard. Middlebury had six consecutive penalty corner chances in the opening seven minutes, but could not find the back of the cage as the game remained scoreless. William Smith answered in transition, as Liz Saucier collected a Panther turnover just outside the circle and cut loose a shot from 10 yards that sailed wide.

The Herons broke into the scoring column with 21:20 remaining in the half, as Saucier ripped a shot from the top of the circle that was saved by Middlebury netminder Meghan McGillen. William Smith's leading scorer Sophie Dennis pounced on the rebound, however, tucking the ball inside the left post for a 1-0 lead. The Panthers, despite 15 corners and a 10-4 advantage in shots, trailed by one goal at intermission.

Middlebury kept up the pressure early in the second stanza, but still couldn't break into the scoring column despite taking the first five shots of the period. It proved costly, as moments later William Smith's Saucier took a shot from the top of the circle that was deflected by McGillen. The ball trickled behind the Middlebury goaltender to the stick of Kaitlyn Hamilton, who tapped it over the line for a 2-0 edge with 24:20 to go. The Herons made a bid to increase their lead to three goals mid-way through the period, but a backhanded shot by Hamilton hit the post with 18 minutes left.

Middlebury's Reid Berrien got her team back into the game with a spectacular goal a few minutes later. The Panthers' leading scorer took a loose ball at midfield, tapped the ball past a William Smith defender, breaking in all alone on goaltender Katie DeKracker. Berrien drew DeKraker out of position and buried it into the cage to make it 2-1 with 15:56 to go.

The best chance for the Panthers late in the game came courtesy of Berrien, who drove a hard shot from the right side of the circle that was kicked aside by DeKraker. Middlebury earned a corner with under three minutes to play, but the Herons' sophomore netminder kicked the ball outside the circle, preserving the victory.

DeKraker stopped 17 shots in all for William Smith, while Middlebury's McGillen earned nine stops. Middlebury held a 20-13 edge in shots and a 19-6 advantage in penalty corners.

-courtesy Bowdoin--