Courtesy of Middlebury Sports Information
MIDDLEBURY, Vt. – Sixth-seeded Colby knocked off third-seeded Middlebury for the second-straight Saturday, this time eliminating the Panthers (11-5) from the NESCAC Tournament. The Mules improve to 9-5 on the year, advancing to next weekend's semifinal round at Trinity where they will meet the host school.
Middlebury kept Colby off the board for the game's first 23 minutes, taking a 6-0 lead at the 8:42 mark of the first half. Laurel Pascal opened the scoring, before Katie Ritter and Pascal scored 26 seconds apart to make it a 4-0 game. Ritter found the back of the net on a great quick-stick feed from Megan Griffin, before converting a free position with a low bouncing shot to put her team up 5-0 with 9:15 remaining. Pascal scored her third goal of the run just 33 seconds later after a nice spin move around a defender.
Colby got things going at the 7:00 mark when Sara Miller converted a pass from behind the goal from Alex Mintz. The goal was the first of a six-goal run, five of them coming in the first half. Sarah Lux cut around defenders to make it a 6-2 game before Katharine Eddy converted a free position just 44 seconds later. Eddy found Lindsey McKenna with a quick feed inside with just 37 seconds remaining, before Eddy made it a one-goal game with just two seconds left in the first half.
After struggling to clear the ball a week ago, the Panthers went 13-13 in the first half and held a 7-3 edge in draw controls. Colby turned things around in the second half, winning 8-11 draws to get back into the game and maintain an edge in possession.
McKenna tied the game less than a minute into the second half, scoring on a low show after an assist from Eddy. Middlebury took advantage of a yellow card, scoring with a player advantage as Mary O'Connell converted a feed from Alli Sciarretta.
McKenna backed in and scored with a spin move for the Mules at 22:40, tying the game at 7-7. The Panthers answered with a two-goal spurt to take a 9-7 lead. Ritter cut through the middle and scored before finding Griffin cutting hard to the goal with 17:41 remaining. Miller scored on a free position to bring her team within one at 9-8, before neither team scored for nearly eight minutes.
Katie Griffin scored with an assist from Miller, as the Mules tied the game at 9-9 with a transition goal after a big save from Claire Dickson on the other end of the field. The Mules took their first lead of the game with 4:15 remaining when Abby Hooper scored with a quick shot on a feed from Eddy on the left side. The pair hooked up again with 2:15 remaining, when Colby converted after taking time off the clock as Hooper cut through a wide-open middle.
Middlebury won the ensuing draw and quickly moved down the field, making it a one-goal game at 11-10 with 1:59 remaining. Pascal made a quick pass over the top to Liza Herzog, who quickly turned and scored.
Colby won the draw, but Herzog later picked off a pass as the Panthers headed downfield with under a minute remaining, looking to tie the game. The Panthers were only able to muster a partially deflected shot with 30 seconds left, as Colby gained possession and ran out the clock.
Ritter paced Middlebury with four goals to go along with three caused turnovers and a pair of ground balls. Pascal scored three goals and picked up a pair of ground balls, while Maggie Caputi had three draw controls and a pair of ground balls. Alyssa Palomba finished with six saves in goal.
McKenna led Colby with three goals, Eddy finished with a pair and four assists, while Miller and Hooper each scored twice. Michelle Burt made four saves in the first half, while Claire Dickson earned the win with three second-half saves.
These two teams met a just week ago on Kohn Field, with Colby emerging with a 14-11 victory. The Mules are now 4-1 vs. the Panthers in the last four NESCAC Tournament meetings dating back to '08.