Women's Soccer Falls In NESCAC Title Game
November 8, 2009
The Middlebury women's soccer team saw its hopes of a third NESCAC Championship fall short as the Panthers dropped a 3-2 contest at Williams. Middlebury's record falls to 13-2-2 on the season, as they are expected to get an at-large bid to the NCAA Tournament when the pairings are announced on Monday. Williams remains undefeated at 17-0 and earns an automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament.
The two squads faced off in the final game of their regular season on October 30, 2009 with Williams taking the contest by a 1-0 margin. Sarah Walmsley tallied a late-goal in the 87th- minute to win a game that the Panthers dominated. In today's championship game, Williams and Middlebury switched momentum often with the Ephs controlling much of the first third and last third of the game. The Panthers took the momentum in the middle of the game, when they scored two goals to tie and take the lead for just over 15 minutes.
Williams sophomore Bret Eisenhart tallied two goals, putting her squad up first in the 25th minute of play. Eisenhart and teammate Brianna Wolfson found themselves in a 2-on-1 match up against a lone Middlebury defender. Wolfson drew the defender in, and then flicked the ball to an open Eisenhart who ripped a fast-paced shot to the middle of the net for the 1-0 lead.
Middlebury responded nine minutes later with one of their first offensive opportunities of the game. Panther Rachel Madding corralled a corner kick, and attempted to head the ball to net. Teammate Anne Ford intercepted the ball with another header, and directed it towards goal to knot the game, 1-1. The Panthers proceeded to silence the home crowd by taking the lead at 55:09. Annie Rowell scored her team-leading 11th goal of the season as she laced a low shot to the back left corner for the 2-1 advantage.
Williams played from behind for 15 minutes before gaining momentum once again. At 71:24, Walmsley scored off a fast-break sequence to even the game at two goals apiece. Nicole Stenquist dribbled towards the Panther net and quickly spotted an undefended Walmsley on her left. Stenquist played a solid pass to her teammate, who proceeded to take an open shot for the goal.
Momentum began to shift back towards the Ephs, and the home team regained the lead just eight minutes later off another sequence between Eisenhart and Wolfson. Wolfson played a cross from the left side towards a crowd of players in front of the net. The ball began to trail past the far post as Eisenhart read its path and retreated towards the ball. She kicked the ball back towards the left post for what would become the game-winning goal.
Statistically, Middlebury and Williams were on par, taking 11 and 12 shots respectively. Lauren Sinnenberg recorded five saves in the win, while Lauryn Torch tallied three saves for Middlebury.