Women's Lax Wins Opener In OT

March 12, 2011

Sally Ryan's fifth goal of the game was the lone score of the overtime period, giving No. 15 nationally ranked Middlebury a 10-9, come-from-behind victory to spoil the Garcelon Field opener of the Bates women's lacrosse team on Saturday. Ryan added two assists for the Panthers, while Elizabeth Garry netted three goals.

Bates senior Briana Gross had a career-best scoring performance, with four goals and two assists. Lindsay Thompson added a goal with two assists, and Bridget Meedzan scored one goal and assisted on another. Bates' Joan O'Neill scored two goals before having to leave the game with her second yellow card with 3:11 left in the first half.

Middlebury (1-0, 1-0 NESCAC) trailed 9-7 with under three minutes left in regulation, but scored once with 2:27 left, as Ryan fed Chase Delano, to close the gap to 9-8. The Panthers evened the game at 9-9 with 31 seconds left to play on an unassisted tally by Elizabeth Garry -- the first time since 18:16 remaining in the first half that Bates didn't hold the lead. Middlebury won the ensuing draw control but Bates held the Panthers without a shot until regulation time petered out.

Bates' Jenna Dannis fired the first shot of the overtime period, nearly two minutes in, but it was saved by Middlebury goalie Lily Nguyen. The Panthers then penetrated Bates' defense and Ryan converted the game-winning shot from close range with 3:44 left in overtime.

Bates got three more shots off before the end of overtime, all turned away by Nguyen, who totaled 15 saves in the game. Bates goalie Mara Krueger also made a save during the period on a shot by Delano. After a shot by Bates' Caroline Pierce was saved by Nguyen, Middlebury was able to run the final 72 seconds off the clock to preserve the win.

Three of Gross's scores came in the second half, including the play that brought the crowd to its feet. A Krueger save on a shot by Middlebury's Ellen Halle was turned into a fast-break opportunity for the Bobcats, with Krueger giving the outlet pass to Ingrid Knowles, who centered the ball to Linnea Fulton near midfield. Fulton switched the ball to Jenn Brallier on the left wing, and Brallier found Gross for the finish near the Middlebury net, putting the Bobcats on top 9-7 with 8:44 left in regulation.

Krueger made nine saves, five of them on 8-meter shots by the Panthers in the first half.

The game represented the first women's lacrosse game to be played on historic Garcelon Field, the home field of the Bates football team since 1899. Garcelon's renovation and resurfacing project was completed in September 2010, and Garcelon now serves as the home field of Bates' men's and women's lacrosse teams, in addition to football.

Bates will play host to Williams in another NESCAC match next Saturday, March 19, at 12 p.m. Middlebury will host Wesleyan at the same time.