Middlebury women’s lacrosse opens with victory

MIDDLEBURY — The Middlebury College women’s lacrosse team, ranked No. 9 in the NCAA Division III preseason coaches’ poll, took advantage of a strong opening half in a 19-12 win over visiting No. 20 Bowdoin on Saturday in the season opener for both teams.

The Panthers on this coming Saturday play at Connecticut College at noon. Their March 5 victory was Middlebury’s 26th straight, dating back to March 2, 2019.

Last Saturday, Middlebury tallied the final four goals of the first quarter for a 5-1 advantage. Jane Earley scored twice during the run, including a quick-stick score on an assist from Lily Riseberg.

Bowdoin’s Annabelle Gersch pulled the visitors to within three 5-2 just 16 seconds into the second quarter, but three straight Erin Nicholas goals for Middlebury in a span of 2:14 made it 8-2 with 10:53 left in the half. The Panthers settled for an 11-6 halftime lead when Bowdoin got late goals from Fiona Bundy and Gersch before the break.

Three more second-half goals from Nicholas helped Middlebury stretch its lead to 19-12. She led the Panther attack with six goals, including three free-position tallies, to go along with eight draw controls. Earley tied her career high with five goals, while Hope Shue contributed three goals and an assist.

Erica Barr finished with five ground balls and three caused turnovers, and in goal Annie Enrietto made 12 saves in her Panther debut, adding a team-high six ground balls.

Bundy and Gersch led Bowdoin with three goals and an assist apiece, while Emelia Krakora scored twice. Sophia Rutman played the first quarter in goal with four saves, while Aaliyah Biondo made eight stops in the final three quarters.

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