#9 Women's Lacrosse Travels To Gettysburg For NCAA Regional

May 15, 2014

The Middlebury College women’s lacrosse team, making its 20th NCAA Tournament in the last 21 years, travels to Gettysburg, Pennsylvania for an NCAA Regional on Saturday, May 17th. The ninth-ranked Panthers (12-5) will meet the host Bullets at 11:30 a.m., while the other game features #3 Trinity against Fredonia State. The winners advance to an NCAA Regional Final on Sunday, May 18th at 3:00 p.m.

The Panthers are 43-14 in NCAA play since they first qualified for the tourney in ’94. Their .754 NCAA winning percentage is higher than all but one team (The College of New Jersey) 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). The Panthers returned to the final four in ’12 and ’13. Head Coach Missy Foote is in her 34th season at the helm of the program, sporting a career record of 406-109-1. Her .788 winning percentage is second all-time among her peers.

The Panthers earned their way into the tournament with an at-large bid and moved into this weekend’s regional via a 19-7 second-round home win against Endicott on Saturday. Middlebury owns the nation’s toughest schedule in the country this season, with challenges from 10 teams in the top 20. The Panthers opened the year with seven-straight wins, including a 14-5 road win at seventh-ranked Franklin & Marshall on March 27th. Middlebury won two of its next three before dropping three of the team’s ensuing four contests. All three losses during that stretch were at the hands of teams ranked second, eighth and 13th in the nation at the time, respectively. After thumping #9 Williams in the regular-season finale, the Panthers fell to #11 Colby in the NESCAC Quarterfinals before last Saturday’s NCAA win.

The Panther offense leads the NESCAC this season with 12.12 goals per game, while the defense is fifth with a 7.65 average. The team also paces the league in shooting percentage (.520) and draw controls (209), while it ranks fourth in caused turnovers (164).

Sophomore Laurel Pascal owns a NESCAC-best total of 51 goals this season, including a four-goal effort on Saturday, to pace the Panther offense. She also leads the league with 15 free-position goals and is second with 56 points. Senior Liza Herzog is second on the team with 27 goals and 41 points to go along with her 14 assists. Junior Katie Ritter leads the team and is seventh in the NESCAC with 16 helpers. She is third on the squad with 40 points (24-16-40), to go along with 20 caused turnovers, second on the team and tied for ninth in the league. Sophomore Alli Sciarretta (25-10-35), rookie Mary O’Connell (20-14-34) and sophomore Bridget Instrum (22-9-31) round out the other leading scorers.

Senior Hannah Deoul anchors the Panther defense, leading the team and tied for third in the NESCAC with 28 caused turnovers despite missing two games this season. She also paces the squad with 33 ground balls. Junior Catherine Fowler is the team’s leader in draw controls with 63, placing her second amongst her NESCAC peers. Senior goalkeeper Alyssa Palomba is 12-4 on the year with a 7.62 goals against average and a .429 save percentage.

Middlebury leads the all-time series with Gettysburg by a 7-1 count. The two programs have met twice in the NCAA Tournament with the Panthers winning both contests. Middlebury was victorious in 2008 by a 14-5 tally in a regional semifinal played at Hamilton, and also picked up a 15-9 victory two years ago during a regional final hosted by the Bullets.

Gettysburg, ranked #6 in the nation and owners of a 17-2 record, received the Centennial Conference’s automatic bid with a 9-5 win over #7 nationally-ranked Franklin & Marshall in the championship game. The Bullets advanced to the regional round via a 19-6 victory on Saturday over Cabrini. 

In the day’s second game, Trinity (16-2), ranked third nationally, received the automatic bid after winning the NESCAC title on May 10 by a 10-7 score against fifth-ranked Amherst. The Bantams moved on to the round of 16 with a 16-4 win against Castleton State. The Panthers and Bantams have met 34 times with Middlebury holding a 19-15 advantage in the all-time series. Trinity has won the last eight contests with the last four games being decided by a single goal, including a 10-9 decision on April 12th at Kohn Field.

Fredonia State (12-6) received an at-large bid into the tournament after falling to eighth-ranked Geneseo during the State University of New York Athletic Conference (SUNYAC) tournament. The Blue Devils advanced in the NCAA Tournament with a narrow 9-8 victory against Rensselaer on Saturday, scoring the game-winning goal with three seconds left. The Panthers and the Blue Devils have never met.

2014 NCAA Women's Lacrosse Regional – Gettysburg, Pa.
NCAA Regional Semifinals, Saturday, May 17th
#9 Middlebury (12-5) @ #6 Gettysburg (17-2) – 11:30 a.m.
#3 Trinity (16-2) vs. Fredonia State (12-6) – 2:30 p.m.

NCAA Regional Final – May 18
Saturday’s winners – 3:00 p.m.