Women's lacrosse will host NCAA regional

MIDDLEBURY — The Middlebury College women’s lacrosse team posted a second-round NCAA Division III victory over visiting Fairleigh Dickinson University at Florham on Sunday by the misleading score of 12-7, and as a result will host an NCAA Regional this weekend.

The 18-1 Panthers led FDU by 12-0 early in the second half before making mass substitutions and surrendering seven goals in the late going against the 14-7 Devils, who had an 11-game winning streak snapped. 

Middlebury will face St. John Fisher (17-3) on Saturday at 11:30 a.m., while Amherst (13-4) will meet Gettysburg (17-2) at 2:30 p.m. The winners meet on Sunday at 1 p.m., with a trip to the final four on the line. The Panthers lost to Cortland State, 19-12, in a 2015 NCAA semifinal, and could face Cortland again if they advance out of this weekend’s regional.

This weekend marks the final home game for two local standout athletes. Middlebury native and former Middlebury Union High School standout Chrissy Ritter is a four-year starter at midfield and key member of the Panther defense. This year she has 20 goals and 11 assists and is second on the team in causing turnovers (27) and fourth in scooping ground balls (28).

Cornwall’s Katie Mandigo, also an ice hockey forward, won the starting goalie job this spring and has started 11 games. Her goals-against average is 6.31 and her save percentage is 46.7. She stopped all five shots she saw while playing the first 30 minutes of Sunday’s victory.

Leading the Panther offense overall heading into this weekend are attackers Bridget Instrum (50 goals, 11 assists), Mary O’Connell (29 goals, 37 assists), Alli Sciaretta (38 goals, 15 assists) and Megan Griffin (24 goals, 18 assists). Midfielder Laurel Pascal is second on the team in goals with 41 and has chipped in eight helpers.

Defensively, Evie Keating, who roves in the middle of the Panther zone, leads the team with 29 caused turnovers and 38 ground balls. Delaina Smith and freshman Alex White, who stepped in when senior Maggie Caputi went down in the seventh game with a season-ending injury, also start in the back.

The Panthers avenged their only loss of the season, 13-9 at home to NESCAC foe Trinity, by defeating Trinity in the NESCAC final, 10-7, at Trinity. That victory, on May 8, ended the Bantams’ streak of five straight NESCAC crowns. 

Sunday’s defeat of FDU marked Middlebury’s first action since the NESCAC final. The Panthers outscored the Devils by 9-0 in the first half, starting 33 seconds into the game, Chrissy Ritter was awarded a free-position shot and Laurel Pascal on the left of the cage for the goal.

Two more Pascal goals helped make it 6-0, with Susanna Baker, Griffin and Emma McDonagh also chipping into that early surge. Hollis Perticone scored back-to-back goals to make it 8-0, and Georgia Carroll closed out the scoring in the first half at 5:03.

Middlebury scored three times in the first 7:02 of the second half to make it 12-0. Griffin scored the first from Ritter, Pascal converted a free position and Ritter capped the scoring after taking a Sciarretta pass from behind the net from Alli. The Panthers rested their starters the rest of the way.

Pascal led all players with four goals, while Griffin tallied twice and set up another. Perticone added two goals and Ritter scored once and assisted on two others. Smith caused two turnovers and scooped four ground balls. After Mandigo made five saves in the first half, freshman Kate Furber came on allowing one goal on one shot, and then senior Madeleine Kinker finished up with two shots. FDU goalie Megan Nemeth stopped seven shots. 

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