Panther women’s lacrosse rallies for playoff win
MIDDLEBURY — The Middlebury College women’s lacrosse team closed Saturday’s NESCAC quarterfinal on a 4-0 run to earn a 9-8 victory over visiting Amherst (9-7).
The second-seeded Panthers (13-2) will next head to this weekend’s NESCAC final four at top-seed Trinity in Hartford, Conn. They will meet third-seeded Bowdoin (14-2) on Saturday at 2:30 p.m., while Trinity (at 15-1 the No. 1 team in NCAA Division III as well as the four-time defending NESCAC champion) will meet fifth-seeded Tufts (11-5) at noon. This season, Middlebury won at Bowdoin, but recently lost at Trinity and was upset by Tufts in the early going.
On this past Saturday, Mary O’Connell gave third-ranked Middlebury an early 1-0 lead by scoring on a rebound, but Amherst answered with a pair before Megan Griffin cut to the goal and converted a feed from Katie Ritter to make it 2-2 at 16:32 of the first half.
Mia Haughton and Claire Cagnassola gave the Jeffs a 4-2 lead at 5:42 before Hollis Perticone won a draw and found Laurel Pascal for the tally 30 seconds later. Less than a minute later, Ritter tied the game with a nice shot cutting to the goal. Perticone then gave Middlebury the halftime lead with a nice individual move at 3:08 left.
Amherst scored on its first four possessions of the second half to take an 8-5 lead. Middlebury had only two possessions in that time, with Amherst keeper Christy Forrest making a pair of saves.
Ritter ended Middlebury’s scoring drought at 16:31, scoring on a cut to the goal to make it 8-6. Amherst won the draw, but turned the ball over, and Alli Sciarretta converted a free position shot at 11:53.
Pascal won the draw, as Perticone tied the game just over a minute later, taking a feed from Griffin and scoring with a spin move near the crease.
Catherine Fowler won the ensuing draw, but Forrest denied a Perticone shot. Amherst then suffered its first failed clearing attempt of the game, and Perticone scored with a solo move that put the Panthers on top, 9-8, at 7:56.
Amherst won the draw and had a pair of shots, but could not convert. Middlebury cleared the ball with 5:03 remaining and took about 2:30 off the clock before committing a turnover. The Jeffs had the ball in the attack zone for the final 2:06 of the game following a timeout. The Panther defense blocked a shot attempt before the Jeffs elected not to shoot on two free positions from bad angles. The Jeffs got two looks in the final seconds, but fired wide.
Pascal, Fowler and Perticone each had three draw controls as Middlebury held a 13-6 advantage in that department. Perticone finished with a career-best three tallies and one assist, Ritter scored twice with a helper, while Griffin finished with one of each. Ritter caused a pair of turnovers, and goalie Madeleine Kinker made six saves.
Rachel Passarelli led Amherst with two goals and two assists, and Forrest finished with seven saves.
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