Middlebury's Hollis Perticone scored with 2:37 left in double overtime as the fifth-ranked Panthers edged #6 Trinity 10-9 on Saturday, gaining the inside track as the top seed for the upcoming NESCAC Tournament. The victory put Middlebury at 7-1 in the conference and 10-2 overall, while the loss was the first in NESCAC play for the Bantams (7-1) as they fell to 11-2. The Panthers play their final non-conference game of the season on Tuesday, visiting Union at 5:30 p.m.
Kiley Coffey got Trinity off to a quick start in the first half, scoring 1:12 into the contest. Mary O'Connell and Emma McDonagh netted back-to-back goals for Middlebury minutes later, but the hosts countered with three-straight tallies for a 4-2 advantage. Perticone closed the gap to one goal, scoring on a feed from O'Connell with 10:22 on the clock. The score remained 4-3 until halftime.
Middlebury forged its way back in front at the start of the second half, as McDonagh converted on a free-position attempt and added another marker 8:22 into the stanza. Trinity responded with goals from Grace O'Donnell and Clare Lyne, but the Panthers had an answer. O'Connell tied the game 6-6 with an unassisted tally, before setting up McDonagh for a goal while a Bantam player was serving a penalty. O'Connell's assist on the play was the 100th of her career, making her only the third player in program history to reach the milestone.
Coffey tied the score at 7-7 as the Bantams were a player down, but Middlebury jumped back in front on a tally from Sara DiCenso. The hosts received two more goals from Coffey for a 9-8 lead, but O'Connell set up overtime with an unassisted goal with two minutes left in regulation.
After a scoreless six minutes in the opening overtime period, Perticone gave the Panthers the victory when she drove toward the net and fired a shot into the back of the net for her 20th goal of the season.
Middlebury has now won three-straight over the Bantams, including a 9-5 triumph in the 2016 NCAA Division III Championship game.
McDonagh paced the Panthers with four goals, while O'Connell had a five-point afternoon with three scores and two assists. Perticone had a balanced effort with two goals, three draw controls and a caused turnover. Delaina Smith led all players in the game with four ground balls and three caused turnovers.
For the Bantams, Coffey scored five times, while Lyne and O'Donnell each had a goal and an assist. Lyne also recorded a game-high six draw controls.
In goal for the Panthers, Kate Furber (8-2) earned the win with 10 saves, including a key stop on a free-position attempt in the first overtime, while Zoe Ferguson (11-2) took the loss for Trinity with nine saves.
Middlebury held a small 26-25 lead in shots, while the Bantams held the edge in ground balls (18-12) and draw controls (13-11).