Second-Half Surge Propels #4 Middlebury Past #8 York

Second-Half Surge Propels #4 Middlebury Past #8 York

Trailing 9-4 with 23:33 remaining, #4 Middlebury went on a 7-0 run and held on for an 11-10 victory over #8 York (Pa.) in an NCAA Regional Final on Kohn Field. With their 10th-straight win, the Panthers (19-2) advance to the NCAA Semifinals on May 26 in Salem, Virginia. The Spartans finish their season with a 15-5 record.

York jumped out to a quick start, notching free-position goals by Regan Cook and Meghan Fox for a 2-0 lead 5:58 into the game. Middlebury's Hollis Perticone responded just 15 seconds later with a free-position tally of her own, making it 2-1. The Spartans answered at the 19:26 mark when Fox beat two defenders, switching from her right to left, before burying the ball in the back of the net for a 3-1 advantage.

Emma McDonagh scored twice for the Panthers, with a tally by Cook sandwiched in between, making it a 4-3 game with 7:16 to go in the first half. York scored three of the final four goals of the stanza, giving the visitors a 7-4 cushion heading into the break.

Out of the intermission, the Spartans extended their lead to 9-4 with a pair of goals. Fox netted a free-position tally, before Melissa Meehling found the back of the net with 23:33 remaining. Unfortunately for York, Middlebury held them scoreless for the game's next 23:05.

The Panthers began their comeback when Perticone beat two Spartan defenders, before scoring to make it 9-5 with 22:59 remaining. Just 1:09 later, McDonagh found a cutting Grace Getman, whose low shot snuck past York goalie Charlotte Wright, cutting the deficit to 9-6. Nearly six minutes elapsed before Georgia Carroll's spin move after a dish from Erin Nicholas brought the Panthers within two (9-7). Perticone won the next draw, and quickly fed McDonagh, who scored just 13 seconds later to put her team on top, 10-9. With just 1:33 left in regulation, McDonagh struck again, this time with a side-arm free-position shot, giving Middlebury some breathing room with an 11-9 advantage. During the 7-0 run, the Panther defense stepped up, causing seven Spartan turnovers.

With 28 seconds remaining, York's Devin Hursey found a cutting Hayley McCormick, bringing the Spartans within one (11-10). Middlebury's Henley Hall won the ensuing draw control, before the Panthers ran out the clock for the win.

McDonagh's six goals paced all scorers and was a career high, while Perticone netted three to go along with five draw controls. Defensively, the Panthers caused 13 turnovers, led by three apiece from Alex White and Evie Keating, who each picked up three ground balls. Susanna Baker (2 CT, 3 GB) and Addy Mitchell (2 CT, 2 GB) rounded out the defensive leaders. Kate Furber finished the contest with eight saves to earn the win for Middlebury.

Fox led York with four goals, while Cook and Meehling each scored twice. Nicole Clauter won five draws and caused two turnovers, while Claudia DiVenti also earned five draw controls. Wright scooped up four ground balls in the game, while Meehling forced a pair of turnovers. Wright made a dozen saves in goal for the Spartans.

Middlebury will be making its 19th appearance in the final four. The Panthers will face The College of New Jersey in the semifinals, a team they lost to 10-6 on March 27. Salisbury will take on Gettysburg in the other semifinal, with the championship game taking place on Sunday, May 27.