Women's Lacrosse Headed To Final Four

May 15, 2012

The Middlebury College women's lacrosse team will make its 15th trip to the NCAA Final Four when they take on Salisbury this weekend in a semifinal match-up at Montclair State. The Panthers will take on the Gulls at 1:00 p.m. on Saturday, May 19th, with Trinity and Cortland State to follow at 4:00 p.m. The NCAA Championship game will take place at 2:00 p.m. on Sunday.

Middlebury is in the midst of its 18th NCAA Tournament appearance in the last 19 years. The Panthers are 42-12 in NCAA play since they first qualified for the tourney in ’94. Their .778 NCAA winning percentage is higher than all but one team (TCNJ) in the history of Division III lacrosse.

Middlebury won NCAA titles in ’97, ’99, ‘01, ’02 and ’04, advancing to the final four every year from ’94-’07 (14 years). Head coach Missy Foote is in her 32nd season at the helm of the program, sporting a career record of 376-100-1. Her .789 winning percentage is second all-time among her peers.

The Panthers earned their way into the tournament with an at-large bid after falling in the NESCAC Championship game. Middlebury opened the season with nine straight wins before falling to third-ranked Trinity on April 14th. The Trinity loss was part of a span where the Panthers dropped three of four games, including a contest to #8 Colby. Middlebury bounced back with a NESCAC Quarterfinal win over #14 Tufts before topping #6 Amherst in the semifinals. The #4 Bantams stung the Panthers again in the NESCAC title game, scoring in the final seconds for an 11-10 win.

Middlebury had little trouble in their opening NCAA game on May 9th, topping in-state foe Norwich, 19-1. Junior Margaret Souther and rookie Colleen Sullivan each scored three goals, while Ellen Halle had two goals and five assists.

Last weekend at the NCAA Regional in Gettysburg, Middlebury overpowered Montclair State, 12-5. The Panthers held the Red Hawks to just one shot and forced 17 turnovers in the opening half alone. Junior Emma Kramer and Souther each scored twice, while senior Elizabeth Garry earned two assists.

Middlebury scored the game’s last five goals in the regional final, topping Gettysburg 15-9. Garry scored four goals, while sophomore Liza Herzog added three in the win.

Middlebury’s offense leads the NESCAC this season with 13.26 goals/game, while the defense is third with a 7.31 goals against average. The team also paces the league in ground balls/game (20.16) and shots/contest (28.74).

Garry leads the attackers and is second on the team with 32 goals and 47 points this season. Joining her on attack are Herzog and junior Michaela Colbert. Herzog is second on the team with 35 goals and third with 42 points this season, while Colbert owns 29 tallies and eight assists for 37 points. Herzog paces the team with 45 draw controls and 24 caused turnovers this season. Kramer also starts on attack, owning 19 goals and eight assists for 27 points. Rookie Catherine Fowler (19-8-27, 24 draw controls) also sees time on attack and handles most of the draw control duties.

Souther leads the team in goals (38), assists (24) and points (62) this season in the midfield. She is also second with 40 draw controls and third with 16 caused turnovers. Joining her in the midfield are first-year player Katie Ritter and sophomore Hannah Deoul. Ritter, who earned NESCAC Rookie of the Year honors earlier this month, is tied for third in goals (32), fourth in assists (9) and fourth in points (41). Deoul owns 12 points and paces the team in ground balls with 44.

Senior Lucy Jackson paces a steady defensive core and is second on the team with 17 caused turnovers, while earning 21 ground balls. Senior Hannah Epstein (18 ground balls) and juniors Heather Marrison (35 ground balls) and Neile Weeks (28 ground balls) round out the starting defenders.

Senior Lily Nguyen has started 18 of 19 games this season, missing one contest due to illness. She is tops in the NESCAC and fifth nationally with a 6.74 goals against average, owning a record of 15-3 overall with 103 saves.

2012 NCAA Division III Women’s Lacrosse Championship
Saturday, May 19th – Montclair St. (N.J.)
Middlebury (15-4) vs. Salisbury (21-0) – 1:00 p.m.
Trinity (19-1) vs. Cortland (20-1) – 4:00 p.m.

Sunday, May 20th – Montclair St. (N.J.)
NCAA Championship – 2:00 p.m.