Field Hockey Returns To NCAA Final Four

November 14, 2011

The Middlebury College field hockey team will make its fourth trip to the NCAA final four this weekend at Nichols College in Dudley, Mass. The Panthers will take on NESCAC foe Bowdoin at 11:00 a.m. on Saturday, November 19th, while The College of New Jersey meets Ursinus at 2:00 p.m. The winners meet in the NCAA Championship game on Sunday at 1:00 p.m. Tickets are priced at $7 for adults and $4 for students each day, and will be available at the gate.

Middlebury is in the midst of its ninth consecutive and 12th overall appearance in the NCAA Tournament. The Panthers enter the weekend with an overall record of 23-11 in NCAA Tournament play. The Panthers won the NCAA title in ’98, finishing with a 17-1 mark, while advancing to the finals in ’03, ’04 and ’07. Middlebury previously hosted and won NCAA Regionals in ’98, ’03 and ’04, winning a regional at TCNJ in ’07.

Middlebury earned its way into the NCAA Tournament with an at-large bid after an impressive 14-3 season entering NCAA play. The Panthers went 8-2 in a strong NESCAC conference, advancing to the championship game before falling to top-ranked Bowdoin, 2-1. Head coach Katharine DeLorenzo is now in her 12th year as the team’s leader, owning a record of 157-44 (.781) at Middlebury entering the weekend.

The Panthers enter the weekend first in the NESCAC and ninth in the nation with 3.89 goals/game, while holding their opponents to 1.12 goals/contest. Middlebury has scored four or more goals in a game eight times this season, including six straight games in October. The team boasted a 12-game winning streak during the season, before falling in the NESCAC title game.

Last weekend at Skidmore, Lauren Greer broke a 1-1 tie with her second goal of the game with 9:20 remaining, lifting the Panthers to a 2-1 win over Franklin & Marshall. Middlebury held a 9-7 shots advantage in the game, as Becca Shaw made a pair of saves. On Sunday, Greer scored the game’s only goal on a rebound at the 54:54 mark, to lead the Panthers to a 1-0 win over Amherst. The Jeffs held a 14-8 edge in shots, as Shawn made eight saves.

NESCAC player of the year Lauren Greer leads the team and the nation in scoring. The junior’s 1.79 goals and 4.42 points/game are tops in Division III, while her .84 assists/contest rank her fourth. Greer set single-season records at Middlebury for goals (34), assists (16) and points (84) this fall, while also owning all three career scoring marks (72-31-175). Greer was a three-time NESCAC player of the week, scoring two or more goals 13 times this season. The junior has figured in over 66 percent (49/74) of her team’s goals this season, including 15 straight from October 1st-8th.

Junior Charlotte Gardiner was also a first-team All-NESCAC selection after a solid season for the Panthers. Gardiner is third on the team in points with 21 and goals with seven, while also owning seven helpers this season. Senior Hannah Clarke had a break-out season with a dozen goals, previously scoring two as a sophomore and five as a junior. She is second on the team in both goals and points (25) this season.

First-year player Catherine Fowler (6-4-16), second-team All-NESCAC defender Margaret Souther (2-8-12), sophomore Elinore O’Brien (4-3-11) and senior Lucy Jackson (1-10-12) round out the team’s leading scorers.

Senior Becca Shaw has played 87% of the minutes in goal, owning a 14-3 mark with a 1.17 GAA and a .811 save percentage.

Middlebury and Bowdoin have met twice this season, with the Polar Bears taking a 3-2 overtime contest in Maine back on September 24th. The teams met once again at Bowdoin on November 6th, with the Polar Bears winning the NESCAC title game, 2-1. In other post-season match-ups between the schools, Bowdoin won the ’06 and ’07 NESCAC title games and the ’08 semifinals, while topping the Panthers in the ’08 NCAA Quarters and the ’07 NCAA Championship game. Bowdoin leads the all-time series between the schools, 23-13-1.

Middlebury and The College of N.J. have met three times, all of the meetings coming in NCAA play. The Panthers fell 4-1 in the ’94 NCAA Semifinals, earning a 3-2 win in the quarterfinal round at Middlebury in ’98. The teams last met in ’07 at TCNJ, with the Panthers earning a 2-1 win in quarterfinals.

Middlebury has a pair of regular season wins over Ursinus in ’05 and ’06, falling to the Bears 3-0 in the NCAA Regionals at Ursinus a year ago.

2011 NCAA Field Hockey Championship
Saturday, November 19th – Nichols College
Middlebury (16-3) vs. Bowdoin (19-0) – 11:00 a.m.
Ursinus (18-3) vs. The College of N.J. (22-2) – 2:00 p.m.

Sunday, November 20th – Nichols College
NCAA Championship – 1:00 p.m.