Sports

Women’s soccer bested in NCAA second round

DALLAS, Pa. — Host Misericordia blanked the Middlebury College women’s soccer team on Sunday, 3-0, in a second-round NCAA Division III tournament game, ending a season in which the Panthers had come on strong after a slow start.

The setback left the Panthers with a 13-4-3 record that included a NESCAC playoff championship, a first-round NCAA tournament win, and a 10-game unbeaten string that ended on Sunday.

But despite a few good moments, the Panthers struggled to create consistent offensive threats against Misericordia, which ended its regular season ranked No. 4 and improved to 20-1 with Sunday’s victory. Misericordia outshot the Panthers, 23-12, and many of the Panther shots came from long range. An injury that starting Middlebury forward Joely Virzy apparently suffered in Saturday’s game didn’t help matters. Misericordia also piled up a 10-2 advantage in corner kicks.

The Cougars’ Emma Sweitzer opened the scoring with 3:00 left in the first half. Sweitzer took a through ball from Emma Przyhocki and  ripped a left-footed shot from 15 yards just inside the right post.

The Panthers had a golden opportunity to tie the game 13 minutes into the second half, when Gretchen McGrath sent a cross to Eliza Van Voorhis, but Van Voorhis’s left-footed volley was just wide left.

Sweitzer made it 2-0 with just under 24 minutes remaining, picking off a failed Panther clear and drilling another left-footed shot home from the top of the box. With 12:15 to go, Michaela Fasolino provided the final goal with a bending shot from 20 yards out.

Sydney Poppinga made 10 saves for the Panthers, while Alexis Benedetto made five for the Cougars.

On Saturday, the Panthers got past Lynchburg, 3-2, in their first-round game when Lucy Patten slammed home an Ellie Bavier feed from the right side with 3:01 remaining to snap a 2-2 tie. It was Patten’s first goal of the season, and Van Voorhis set up Bavier’s run. Lynchburg finished 15-6.

The Panthers controlled most of the game, taking a 2-0 first-half lead and hitting posts twice in the second half before the Hornets converted their only two good scoring chances to knot the score.

McGrath made it 1-0, 13:32 into the game. She took a long serve from Panther back Elise Morris at the top of the box, spun around a defender and finished high into the left side of the net from about 16 yards out.

Eliza Robinson made it 2-0 on a corner kick in the 22nd minute. Bavier served low to the front post, and McGrath touched it to Robinson about 10 feet out from goal. Robinson one-timed a shot high inside the right post.

In the 66th minute of the second half, Robinson hit the left post from close range on a Bavier cross from the right, and the Hornet defense blocked Sophia Cole’s rebound bid. Shortly afterward, Fanny Lodge broke in on goal from the left side, but her low, 15-yard bid banged off the far post.

At 71:15, a loose ball after a Lynchburg free kick bounced to Emily Santana just inside the box, and she rifled a shot into the right side of the goal. Nine minutes later, Santana took a Sydney Dombrovskis feed from the left, and from the top of the box she left-footed a blast inside the right post to briefly tie the game.

The Panthers outshot Lynchburg, 17-6. Poppinga and Lynchburg keeper Jade Lecklider each made two saves.

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