Middlebury will make its 16th trip to the NCAA final four after earning a 10-8 win over Rensselaer in a regional final game on Kohn Field. The Panthers (18-2) will take on Salisbury at 10:30 a.m. on Saturday, May 18th, while Trinity meets Cortland in the other semifinal at 1:30. The NCAA Championship game will take place at noon on Sunday, May 19th. All three games will be played at Stevenson University in Owings Mills, Md. The Engineers end their season with a 16-4 mark, their most successful season in school history.
Middlebury jumped out with two goals in the first 4:55 before Rensselaer ran off three straight to take a 3-2 advantage with 16:55 left in the first half. After over 10 minutes without a goal between the two teams, Middlebury answered when Katie Ritter drove through traffic and scored with a high shot to make it a 3-3 game at the 5:49 mark. The Engineers won the ensuing draw and raced down the field where Rachel Scofield scored after a feed from Alissa Peterson just 27 seconds later.
Shannon Maguire won her second straight draw control, as Rensselaer came right down the field and scored again. Jamie Wakefield made a quick pass on a free position to Marissa Page who found the back of the net to give her team a 5-3 lead at the 4:58 mark. Middlebury answered with a goal from Ritter after her defender had fallen, and the 100th of her career from Ellen Halle on a free position. Wakefield scored with a player advantage with just two seconds remaining to give Rensselaer a 6-5 lead at the intermission.
After nearly nine minutes without a goal to start the second half, Maguire scored cutting to the goal on a nice pass from Scofield to put the Engineers up by two. Minutes later, Middlebury's Michaela Colbert was stopped on a save from Allie Arnal. As the Engineer goalkeeper tried to pass the ball, Panther Lauren Pascal intercepted the pass right out of Arnal's stick and found the open net to cut the lead to 7-6.
Alice Pfeifer tied the game at the 16:15 mark, scoring in transition with a nice feed from Ritter. Rensselaer came right back and regained the lead (8-7) on a free position goal to the top corner from Peterson with 13:14 remaining. The Panthers followed with two goals in 55 seconds to take a 9-8 lead. Ritter scored on a nice feed from Halle, before Kramer scored on her own with a nice move to put her team up with 11:42 left to play.
The Panthers were able to win the ensuring draw control, as Hannah Deoul picked up the ball as Middlebury worked the clock. Following a turnover, Rensselaer regained possession and then ended up with a two-player advantage for nearly two minutes after two Panther yellow cards. The Engineers were unable to take advantage, while Scofield's attempt at making it a one-goal game with a free position shot with under a minute remaining was saved by Kate Mandigo.
Middlebury ended the game with a 23-12 shots advantage, going a perfect 13-13 in clearing attempts. Ritter and Kramer led all scorers with three goals apiece, while Pascal added two and Ritter had a pair of assists. Margaret Souther picked up four ground balls in the game and caused a pair of turnovers. Alyssa Palomba played the first half in goal, earning no saves. Mandigo earned her first career win in goal with 30 minutes of action in the second half, earning two saves with one goals allowed.
Wakefield paced Rensselaer with two goals and two assists, Peterson added a goal and two helpers, while Schofield had a goal and an assist to tie the school's single-season point mark with 65. Maguire earned a game-high six draw controls, while Arnal finished the game with a dozen saves in goal.
Courtesy: Middlebury Athletic Department
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