Women’s lax advances in NESCAC tourney

MIDDLEBURY — The top-seeded Middlebury College women’s lacrosse team powered past visiting eighth-seeded Amherst, 20-2, in a NESCAC quarterfinal on Saturday. The Panthers improved to 16-0, while the Mammoths dropped to 9-7.

The Panthers will next host the NESCAC final four this Saturday and Sunday. Middlebury will meet No. 4 Wesleyan (13-3, 7-3 NESCAC) on Saturday at noon, while No. 2 Colby (14-2, 9-1) and No. 3 Tufts (13-3, 7-3) square off at 3 p.m. Saturday’s winners will face each other at 1 p.m. on Sunday.

The Panthers have defeated all three teams this season, Colby and Tufts handily, and Wesleyan with a late tiebreaking goal on the road.

In this past Saturday’s rout of the Mammoths, the Panthers took leads of 8-1 at the end of the first quarter and 11-1 at the half.

Susan Rowley led the way with a career-best six goals, and Hope Shue scored five times. Lily Riseberg dished a game-high four assists, moving into third on Middlebury’s single-season list with 39, while also scoring twice.

Erica Barr led all players in draw controls (six) and caused turnovers (four), while Chloe Newman picked up a game-high four groundballs for the Panthers. Middlebury goalie Gina Driscoll made three saves, while two Amherst goalies combined for six stops.

On April 26, the Panthers completed their regular season by defeating host Williams, 15-5. Middlebury trailed, 2-1, but scored four goals in the final 5:49 of the first half to take charge.

Shue’s diving shot at the 5:49 sparked the run, and a cutting Kelcey Dion buried the ball in the upper left corner for the Panthers’ first lead. Jane Earley and Niki Mormile added goals to make it 5-2 at the break.

The Panthers then outscored the Ephs by 8-1 in the third quarter, and the rest of the game was played on running time.

Dion led the way with four goals and two assists, Earley and Anna Spehr each tallied three goals and an assist, and Shue scored twice. Barr scooped five groundballs and caused four turnovers. Driscoll made four saves for the Panthers, and two goalies combined for 13 saves for the 5-10 Ephs, who failed to qualify for the NESCAC playoffs.

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