Women’s lax reaches league semifinal

MIDDLEBURY — The second-seeded Middlebury College women’s lacrosse team defeated No. 7 Tufts, 14-10, in a Saturday NESCAC quarterfinal and advanced to this weekend’s league final four, to be hosted by top-seeded Trinity.
The 15-1 Panthers will meet No. 3 Amherst (12-3) at 2:30 p.m. on Saturday, while defending champion Trinity (14-2) will meet No. 5 Bates (12-4) at noon. The winners will meet at noon on Sunday, with the league’s automatic bid to the NCAA Division III tournament at stake.
The Panthers won in overtime at Amherst this spring, lost at home to Trinity, and coasted at Bates. The weekend’s losing teams will hope for at-large bids to the NCAA tournament: All four teams were ranked in the April 25 coaches’ poll: Middlebury at No. 6, Trinity at No. 7, Amherst at No. 8, and Bates at No. 10.
On this past Saturday, the Panthers trailed, 4-3, with just under four minutes left in the first half, before going on a decisive 9-1 run over the next 20:19 to defeat Tufts (9-7). Alli Sciarretta, Laurel Pascal, Hollis Perticone and Megan Griffin scored to close the first half for the Panthers to make it 7-4 at the break.
The Jumbos scored to open the second half, but the Panthers rattled off the next five scores. Bridget Instrum, Pascal and Emma McDonagh converted free positions, and Instrum scored the final two goals of the run for the Panthers, giving her five in the game and 47 for the season and making it 12-5, Panthers, at 13:24.
Pascal and Perticone each finished with two goals and an assist, and Mary O’Connell added a goal and two assists. Perticone had a team-best five draw controls, and Chrissy Ritter contributed a goal, an assist, a game-high four caused turnovers, and four ground balls.
Goalie Katie Mandigo made eight saves for the Panthers, while Tufts goalie Audrey Evers made nine saves.
The Panthers on the prior Wednesday survived a scare at Williams, winning 10-9 in overtime when Instrum scored on a free position 2:51 into extra time.
Middlebury trailed at the half, 6-4, but took a 9-8 lead on a McDonagh goal with 10:50 left in the half. But the Ephs converted a free-position shot with 45.5 seconds left in regulation to force overtime.
Instrum led the Panthers with three goals. Griffin and Pascal each scored twice, and Pascal added five ground balls, five caused turnovers and three draw controls. Ritter contributed a goal and an assist. Mandigo recorded three saves. Eph goalie Margaret Draper stopped five shots.

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