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Women’s lacrosse to host NCAA contests

MIDDLEBURY — After winning two tough games this past weekend to claim the NESCAC championship on its home turf, the Middlebury College women’s lacrosse team will this weekend also open NCAA Division III tournament play on Kohn Field. 
The 16-2 Panthers at 1 p.m. on Sunday will meet the winner of a 1 p.m. Saturday game on Kohn Field between NEWMAC champion Babson (12-7) and NAC champion Castleton (11-6). 
If the Panthers prevail on Sunday they will advance to an NCAA Regional on May 19 and 20; the Regional may also be played on Kohn Field. They will be seeking the program’s seventh NCAA title, first since 2016, and second under Coach Kate Livesay. 
On this past Sunday, top-seeded Middlebury claimed its ninth NESCAC championship with a 13-10 win over No. 4 Bowdoin (13-5). Middlebury never led until Erin Nicholas scored a free-position goal with 12:03 left in the game to trigger a closing 5-2 Panther run. Bowdoin’s Eliza Denious equalized at 10:54, but Emily Barnard’s free-position conversion 53 seconds later gave the Panthers the lead for good. 
The Panthers increased the lead to 11-9 when Casey O’Neill bounced the ball past Bowdoin goalie Kayli Weiss (11 saves) at 7:08.
Polar Bear Kara Finnerty netted a free position to make it 11-10 at 5:47. Forty seconds later, Emma McDonagh beat a defender before finding the bottom right corner for a 12-10 lead. At 3:09, Georgia Carroll added another a free position as the Panther pressure drew another foul.   
Bowdoin led by 4-2 in the first half, but goals by Kirsten Murphy and Carroll erased that advantage, and the teams settled for a 5-5 stalemate at the half. 
One of Hannah Hirschfeld’s game-high four goals gave Bowdoin the lead at 24:38 of the second half, but goals by Jenna McNicholas, Hollis Perticone and Kate Zecca over the next 10 minutes gave the Panthers an 8-6 edge. Sara Dicenso set up two of those goals. Bowdoin came back with goals from Kate McAloon and Hirschfield to make it 8-8 at 12:53 and set the stage for the final Panther surge.   
McDonagh’s three goals paced Middlebury. Susanna Baker forced three turnovers and picked up three ground balls, Evie Keating scooped up three ground balls and caused two turnovers and Hollis Perticone controlled seven draws and forced two turnovers. Julia Keith made three first-half saves and allowed five goals, while Kate Furber made eight stops while allowing five goals in the second half. 
On Saturday the Panthers closed their semifinal vs. No. 6 Trinity (11-6) with a 6-1 run to erase a second-half deficit and prevail, 16-13. 
Middlebury netted three goals in the first 1:24, but later in the half Trinity went on a three-goal run to lead, 6-5. Kiley Coffey scored four of Trinity’s first six goals. Trinity still led at the break, 8-7. 
The Bantams scored twice in 29 seconds early in the second half to make it 10-7. Carroll and Trinity’s Grace O’Donnell then traded goals, and the Bantams still led by three at 22:06. 
Goals by Sara DiCenso, on a strong move to the net, and McNicholas, from Murphy, made it 11-10 at 16:36. Coffey scored one more time to made it 12-10 just 12 seconds later, but the Panthers scored four times in the next six minutes, with Zecca, from Carroll; O’Neill; Murphy, giving the Panthers the lead; and O’Neill again doing the damage. Trinity scored once more, but McDonagh sealed the win with two more goals. 
McDonagh scored four goals, O’Neill added three, and 10 Panthers in all scored. Perticone controlled nine draws, while Nicholas scooped four ground balls. Keith made three saves in the first half, and Furber made one in the second half. Trinity goalie Zoe Ferguson made 18 saves as Middlebury owned advantages of 39-23 in shots and 19-12 in draw controls.

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