Panther women’s soccer tough at NCAA soccer semifinals, fall to Trinity, 2-1

SAN ANTONIO, Texas — The finest season in the history of the Middlebury College women’s soccer program came to an end on Friday, when the Panthers lost to top-ranked Trinity University, 2-1, in an NCAA Division III semifinal played in Trinity’s home town of San Antonio.
Trinity lost to William Smith, 2-0, in Saturday’s final, even though Trinity outshot William Smith, 24-12.
Trinity (25-1-2) took the lead vs. Middlebury in the 19th minute on a Michelle Lanier goal that Panther goalie Elizabeth Foody got a piece of, but could not stop.
The 17-2-3 Panthers equalized in the 35th minute on senior Scarlett Kirk’s 17th goal of the season and 48th of her career, a mark that places her second on the program’s all-time list.
Hannah Robinson and Adrianna Gildner earned assists. Robinson sent Gildner into the right side of the Trinity box, and Gildner served to the onrushing Kirk near the penalty stripe. Kirk one-timed the ball with her left foot into the upper left corner.
The Panthers had an edge in first-half chances. Jamie Soroka’s 15-yard bid from the left side while the game remained scoreless was snared by Trinity goalie Devan Osegueda, who also denied Moria Sloan two minutes before Kirk scored.
Trinity maintained more possession in the second half and capitalized in the sixth minute. Foody came off her line to dive on a ball served from the right side, but Trinity’s Hannah Hommel tapped it past her near the right post, turned and looped a shot inside the far post.
Despite Trinity’s ball control, the Panthers had chances. Midway through the half, Kirk’s high serve from the left side bounced through a knot of players near the left post to open right middie Carter Talgo about 15 feet off the right post. But by the time the ball came back down to where Talgo could shoot, a Trinity defender recovered to block the shot wide right.
Trinity’s had few good looks on the Panther goal after the break. Foody did well to snare one corner kick in the half’s 29th minute, and a minute later she came out to break up a play. The Panthers also were fortunate Shelby Guenthardt could not get a foot on a serve from the right side a couple minutes later.
The Panthers ratcheted up the pressure in the waning minutes. Julia Favorito shot a loose ball high and wide from long range, and at 1:20 Gildner got her head on a Favorito free kick from the left, but it sailed well wide right. At about 0:25, Soroka served one last time from the right side, but Osegueda beat Kirk to the ball.
Trinity outshot the Panthers, 16-10, but Middlebury landed more shots on goal: Osegueda finished with five saves and Foody with two. Trinity became the first team this season to score twice on Middlebury and Foody.
Coach Peter Kim said the hard-fought match showed the Panthers could compete with anyone in the nation. This season, Kim’s Panthers set a program record for wins and became the first Middlebury women’s soccer team to reach the Final Four.
Six seniors will graduate, five starters — Foody, a 2012 all-American in goal; Kirk; Favorito, a center middie who was the NESCAC Player of the Year; standout central defender Lindsay Kingston, a Champlain Valley Union High School graduate; and left middie Sarah Noble — and reserve defender Melissa Garrett.

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