Women’s soccer will host regional
MIDDLEBURY — The Middlebury College women’s soccer team came up short to Amherst College, 1-0, in Sunday’s NESCAC championship game, but the 13-2-3 Panthers will host an NCAA Division III Regional this Saturday and Sunday.
Middlebury made a run to the NCAA final a year ago before losing to Williams on penalty kicks, and the program is making its 12th NCAA appearance.
Coach Peter Kim’s Panthers will open by facing the University of New England (13-5-2) at 11a.m. on Saturday. In the other Saturday Regional semifinal Stevens (15-3-1) will take on UMass Boston (19-2-1) at 1:30 p.m.
The Regional final will be played on Sunday at 1 p.m. The winner of that game will advance to a Sectional at a site to be announced on Monday.
On the field vs. Amherst on this past Sunday in a game played at Tufts, the fourth-seeded Mammoths scored the only goal in the second half’s 12th minute to get past the second-seeded Panthers. Both of Middlebury’s losses this fall have come to Amherst (14-3-1).
After Amherst had a couple of good chances midway through the first half, late in the period Panther forward Ellie Greenberg saw Amherst keeper Erica Sanders stop her strong bid for Sanders’ only save of the game.
Mammoth Sarah Sullivan scored the game winner. Panther goalie Eva Shaw came out to join the defense to break up a scoring chance, but the ball bounced to Sullivan at the 18 as Shaw raced back into position. Sullivan fired a hard shot that Shaw got a piece of, but the ball deflected over her head and into the net.
Later in the half, Shaw (five saves) broke up a pair of scoring chances for the Mammoths. The Panthers looked to tie the game with 13 minutes remaining, but Sanders cut off a through ball from Eliza Robinson to Gretchen McGrath. Amherst denied other chances as the Mammoths outshot the Panthers, 16-3.
On Saturday the Panthers blanked No. 3 seed Williams, 2-0. McGrath gave Middlebury a 1-0 lead with 24:22 expired. Olivia Miller lofted a long ball from the right into the left side of the Williams box. McGrath beat a defender and the keeper to the ball and one-timed in a low shot.
Middlebury tacked on an insurance goal on a corner kick. Robinson served from the left into the goalmouth, where defender Isabelle Hartnett headed it home with 21:52 remaining.
Shaw made four saves for her third shutout of the season, while Chelsea Taylor had a pair of stops for the Ephs. Williams held a 15-8 shots advantage and a 6-3 edge in corner kicks as the Panther defense held up under pressure.
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