Panther women’s lax falls in NCAA semi-final

PHILADELHIA — The Middlebury women’s lacrosse team lost, 19-12, to Cortland State on Saturday in an NCAA Division III semifinal game played at PPL Park in Philadelphia.
The game marked the end of a historic career for Middlebury coach Missy Foote, who finishes her 35 years at the helm of the program with a record of 422-114-1, including five NCAA championships and 17 trips to the final four. The Panthers finished the 2016 season at 16-4. Cortland (22-1) defeated Trinity, 13-6, on Sunday for the title.
Middlebury resident Katie Ritter, playing her last game for the Panthers, opened the scoring with at 26:35. Laurel Pascal scored Middlebury’s next two goals in a span of 58 seconds, and Mary O’Connell made it 4-0 at 19:53.
Cortland took possession of the ball for the first time following the goal, and Hannah Elmer scored on a quick-stick shot after a feed from Marilyn Farrell. Elmer struck again just 22 seconds later, and the Red Dragons were within one when Tara Monaghan scored on a feed from Elmer.
Middlebury answered the three-goal spurt when Ritter converted with 9:55 remaining. Cortland State’s Ashley Gentile soon afterward scored twice in 17 seconds to tie the game and force a Middlebury timeout. The Panthers came out of the timeout with a goal from Pascal assisted by Megan Griffin.
Cortland State closed the half on a 3-0 run, taking an 8-6 lead into halftime. Elmer scored to start the run, followed by another from Gentile assisted by Emma Hayes-Hurley 38 seconds later. Kristen Ohberg scored from Farrell for the final tally of the half.
Cortland State held a 17-11 shots advantage at the half and won 10 of 15 draws. After Middlebury won the first four draws, Cortland State controlled 10 of the next 11.
The Red Dragons opened the second half with goals from Hays-Hurley, Monaghan and Gentile to make it 11-6.
Middlebury broke a 15:01 drought when Bridget Instrum scored, and Madeleine Kinker came on in relief of starting goalie Katie Mandigo, who finished with six saves. Kinker made one save in the final 21:16.
The closest the Panthers came was a four-goal run to make it 15-11 with 6:37 to go, with Alli Sciarretta scoring three times and Pascal once in that surge. But Cortland closed the game with a 4-1 run to win going away.
Draw controls and possession were the story, as Cortland held a 21-12 advantage in draws, leading to a 35-22 lead in shots. Sciarretta and Pascal each scored four goals for Middlebury, with a pair from Ritter to go along with her two caused turnovers. Catherine Fowler earned three draw controls, while Mary O’Connell had a goal, four assists and a pair of ground balls. Cortland goalie Jaclyn Beshilian made six saves.

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