Messiah tips Middlebury College field hockey team

MECHANICSBURGH, Penn. — The Middlebury College field hockey team easily won its first game in the NCAA Division III tournament on Saturday, but fell to top-ranked host Messiah in a Regional final, 4-2, on Sunday.
The defending national champion Panthers, who graduated most of their starting lineup, finished the season at 15-5, while Messiah advanced to the final four with a 20-1 record.
Messiah scored twice in Sunday’s final 10 minutes to oust the Panthers from the tournament.
The Panthers’ Annie Leonard opened the scoring 12:44 into the contest. Leonard touched the ball past two defenders and laced a shot into the lower right corner for her 24th goal of the season. The goal marked the second straight season the junior forward has scored 24 goals; she is tied for fourth for career goals with 57.
The Falcons tied the game on a Shayna Landis penalty stroke 9:44 the half. Messiah took the lead five minutes later on a penalty corner. Taylor Holt inserted the ball, and Kezia Loht lofted a shot home.
Middlebury tied the score on a penalty corner 8:32 into the second half. Audrey Quirk inserted to Grace Jennings, who set Lauren Schweppe’s 12th goal of the season.
Messiah took the lead with 8:22 to go on a penalty corner. Holt inserted the ball and converted a return pass from Carissa Gehman. Gehman added an empty net goal in the final minute with Panther goalie Emily Miller pulled for an extra attacker; that came shortly after Panther Kelly Coyle’s bid for the tying score went wide.
Miller made eight saves for the Panthers, while Messiah’s Shelby Landes had two stops. The hosts held advantages in both shots (15-7) and penalty corners (8-5). Middlebury was making its seventh straight appearance in an NCAA quarterfinal.
On Saturday, the Panthers coasted past Rochester, 4-0, as Leonard notched a hat trick and Miller recorded a one-save shutout.
Quirk converted a loose ball on an early corner to put Middlebury on the board, and Leonard netted her own rebound on another corner at 8:46 of the first. Leonard scored twice in the second half. At 16:54 she converted a Schweppe feed on a corner, and 2:16 later she tipped in a Jennings shot.
Miller posted her seventh shutout of the season and 15th of her career, third on the program’s all-time list. Two Rochester goalies combined for four saves. Middlebury finished with a 12-4 edge in shots, and each team took five penalty corners.

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