Panther women’s lacrosse drops first contest

AMHERST — The Middlebury College women’s lacrosse team split a pair of games against top-10 teams late last week, in the process taking their first loss. The Panthers are 7-1, 4-1 NESCAC, and began last week ranked No. 3 in NCAA Division III.
On Saturday, then No. 8 Amherst’s Elizabeth Ludlow netted the game-winner with 3:35 remaining in regulation to give her team an 11-10 victory over Middlebury.
Middlebury fell behind by 5-0 in the early going, but rallied to take a 9-8 lead in the second half before Amherst scored three of the game’s final four goals. The Jeffs improved to 7-0 (4-0 NESCAC).
After the Jeffs took their 5-0 lead, Panther Alli Sciarretta scored twice, but the Jeffs answered each time. Then the Panthers tallied three goals in the final 6:11 of the period to make it 7-5 at the break. Liza Herzog got the run started, Chrissy Ritter set up Bridget Instrum, and Sciarretta converted a Herzog feed.
The Jeffs made it 8-5 in the first minute of the second half, but less than a minute Mary O’Connell found Instrum with a pass from behind the net. Just 28 seconds later, Herzog buried a free position attempt. After scooping a loose ball in front, Sciarretta tied the game at 25:27, and Megan Griffin netted a go-ahead goal that gave the visitors their first lead at 24:14.
The Jeffs tied the game at 9-9, but O’Connell answered with a solo effort before the Jeffs knotted the score once more. Ludlow then scored the late decisive goal to give the Jeffs the upset. Panther goalie Alyssa Palomba made six saves, while Amherst’s Christy Forrest stopped four shots.
On Thursday, March 27, the Panthers concluded their southern swing by thumping then No. 4 Franklin & Marshall, 14-5. Host F&M dropped to 7-2; the team’s only other loss was by one goal at No. 1 Salisbury.
The game was tied at 2-2 before the Panthers scored six of the final eight goals of the first half to lead at the break, 8-4. In that stretch Katie Ritter scored twice in 15 seconds, while Laurel Pascal netted her second and third goals of the game.
Middlebury then scored the first three goals of the second stanza to put the game away, one from Herzog and two from Alli Sciarretta.
Instrum also scored twice, while Ritter had two goals and three assists to pace the Panthers. Hannah Deoul caused three turnovers and picked up seven ground balls, while Palomba made six saves, a total matched by the Diplomat goalie. 

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