MIDDLEBURY, Vt. The Middlebury women's soccer team scored twice in the second half, as the Panthers advanced to the NCAA Quarterfinals for the third time in school history with a 2-0 shutout over #12 Swarthmore in a sectional match-up on Saturday. Middlebury (17-1-3) tied a program for wins in a season, tying the 2013 squad. the third-ranked Panthers move into Sunday's sectional final at 1:00 p.m., facing the winner of the Hardin-Simmons and Misericordia contest. Swarthmore finished its season at 17-3-2.
The teams combined for nine shots in the opening 45 minutes, with the Garnet getting the best opportunity. Martin McCoy carried the ball down the left side and fired a rising shot on goal, but Panther goalie Ursula Alwang punched the attempt wide with 33:40 shoeing on the clock. Middlebury's defense cleared the ensuing corner kick keeping the game scoreless.
The hosts had a good chance in the final 10 minutes of the frame, as Olivia Miller headed a shot on goal from the right side of the net that Garnet keeper Amy Shmoys collected.
In the second stanza, Middlebury had an opportunity with 15 minutes expired, as Ellie Greenberg put a shot just wide of the right post. Greenberg didn't miss on her next chance just over a minute later, rolling a low shot from the right side into the bottom corner of the net for a 1-0 Middlebury lead with 28:33 on the clock.
The Garnet began to press for the equalizer in the final 15 minutes, but it was the Panthers that gained some breathing room with an insurance goal. After a quick give-and-go by Miller and Eliza Van Voorhis, Eliza Robinson touched in a cross by Van Voorhis for a 2-0 cushion with 6:17 remaining.
Swarthmore appeared to have cut the margin in half with 4:58 left in the game when McCoy directed the ball into the Panther net, but the visitors were flagged for offside, negating the score. The Garnet had two more opportunities to spoil the shutout in the final minute, but a block by defender Rose Evans and a save by Ulwang secured the 2-0 victory.
In goal for the Panthers, Alwang finished with a pair of saves for the shutout, tying Adele Plunkett ('05-'08) for fifth on the program's career shutout list with 30. Shmoys had seven stops for Swarthmore.
Middlebury held a 13-9 edge in shots and each team had two corner kicks.
Courtesy: Middlebury Athletics