Women's Hockey Wins NCAA Title

March 19, 2004

3/20/04 - Middlebury won its first NCAA Championship with a 2-1 win over Wisconsin-Stevens Point at Kenyon Arena. The "national title" is the third for Middlebury after capturing the AWCHA (American Women's College Hockey Alliance) National Championships in '00 and '01, before the NCAA sponsored its inaugural tournament in '02. This marks the 20th national championship for Middlebury College since '95, including the men's title won earlier tonight.

Wisconsin-Stevens Point jumped on the board first with a tally at the 2:36 mark. Jackie Schmitt made a cross-crease pass to Ashley Howe who one-timed a quick shot into the net. Middlebury answered just 1:57 later as Emily McNamara made a cross-ice pass from the corner to Jean Butler on the doorstep for the one-timer. The Panthers took a 2-1 lead at 15:32 as Liz Yale-Loehr put in a rebound from the right crease area after a shot from the left circle by Butler was saved by Amy Statz.

A scoreless second period saw both team have opportunites to score, but Statz and Middlebury's Kate Kogut were equal to the task. Middlebury out shot UWSP 11-10 in the period and held a 24-12 advantage after two periods.

The third period looked much like the second, with both teams having some chances to score. Although the Pointers were only able to muster up three shots in the period, they were all good opportunities to tie the game. Middlebury had solid pressure late in the game, not allowing Statz to leave the net until there were only seven seconds left in the contest. Kogut ended the night with 14 saves, while Statz made 32.

"I'm proud of our team, they played hard and to the best of their abilities," said UWSP head coach Brian Idalski. "Middlebury is a very good team, they play a system we're not used to, but we left it all out on the ice."

"This was a great win, and a great day for our program, said Middlebury head coach Bill Mandigo. "After the first period, we kept the pressure on, but their goaltender was outstanding. They are a very disciplined and well-coached team.

"Hardwork, determination and discipline are what got us here. We came together as a team, no individuals, just one team," said captain Jean Butler.

When asked about the Middlebury hockey programs winning two titles in one night, Mandigo gleamed. "What a great day for the Middlebury hockey program and Middlebury College."

The following players were named to the NCAA All-Tournament team: Jenn Clarke (Plattsburgh), Lorna Gifis (Middlebury), Ann Ninnemann (UWSP), Jean Butler (Middlebury), Rose Babst (Middlebury) and Amy Statz (UWSP). (box)