The Middlebury College women's lacrosse team will travel to New Jersey for an NCAA Regional on May 20-21. The Panthers will face The College at Brockport on Saturday, May 20 at 2:30 p.m., with The College of New Jersey battling Mount Union at 11:30 a.m. The winners meet on Sunday at 1:00 p.m. with a trip to the final four on the line. Tickets are priced at $6 for adults and $3 for students.
Middlebury earned at-large bid to the tournament, owning a 15-4 record. The defending NCAA Champions opened the year with five-straight wins and later enjoyed a second five-game winning streak. Middlebury downed Amherst 8-7 in the NESCAC Quarterfinals before falling 10-9 to eventual champion Colby in the conference semifinals. Last weekend, the Panthers downed Plymouth State in NCAA play 13-1, before avenging a pair of losses to Colby with a 10-9 second-round victory.
The Panthers enter the tournament with a record of 56-16 in NCAA play since they first qualified for the tourney in 1994. Their .778 NCAA winning percentage is higher than all but one team (The College of New Jersey) in the history of Division III lacrosse. Middlebury won NCAA titles in 1997, 1999, 2001, 2002, 2004 and 2016, advancing to the final four every year from 1994-2007 (14 years). The Panthers returned to the final four in 2012, 2013, 2015 and 2016. Middlebury has also won eight NESCAC titles.
The Middlebury defense leads the NESCAC with a 6.83 goals against average, while the offense is third in the NESCAC, averaging 12.16 goals/contest this season. The team also ranks second with 321 ground balls, caused turnovers (184) and save percentage (.515).
First-team All-NESCAC selection Mary O'Connell leads the Panther offense and the NESCAC with 69 points this season. The senior's 39 goals are tied for the team lead, while her 30 assists lead the squad and place her second among her NESCAC peers. Sophomore Emma McDonagh is tied with O'Connell with a team-high 39 goals, while ranking second in both assists (14) and points (53). NESCAC Player of the Year Hollis Perticone is third on the squad with 40 points and second with 31 goals. The junior's 73 draw controls are tops in the NESCAC (16 more than any other player), while she also owns 28 ground balls and 19 caused turnovers. Senior Bea Eppler (25-3-28) and sophomores Jenna McNicholas (19-3-22) and Sara DiCenso (14-7-21) round out the team's leading scorers.
Senior Delaina Smith is a first team All-NESCAC selection who leads the Panther defense. She paces the team and is third in the league with 29 caused turnovers to go along with 34 ground balls. Joining her as a defensive leader is second-team All-NESCAC selection Evie Keating. The junior leads the team with 34 grounds balls, while causing 24 turnovers.
In goal, second-team All-NESCAC choice Kate Furber has started the last 14 games. She leads the conference with a .529 save percentage, while ranking third with a 7.12 GAA and 127 saves this season.
Middlebury head coach Kate Livesay is in her second season at the helm of the program. In her first year, she led the team to its first NCAA Championship since 2004, with a school record 22 wins against just one loss. This season, her team has been ranked in the top 10 all year long, entering the tournament with a 13-4 mark. Livesay came to Middlebury from Trinity, where she served as the head coach for eight seasons, amassing a career record of 127-26 (.830), including the 2012 NCAA Championship.
2017 NCAA Women's Lacrosse Regional
Saturday, May 20 – The College of New Jersey
TCNJ (16-1) vs. Mount Union (14-3) – 11:30 a.m.
Middlebury (15-4) vs. Brockport (16-2) – 2:30 p.m.
NCAA Regional Final – 1:00 p.m.