#2 Women's Lacrosse Splits Two NESCAC Road Games

Katie Ritter scored four goals and assisted on three others.
Katie Ritter scored four goals and assisted on three others.

The second-ranked Middlebury women's lacrosse team split a pair of NESCAC road games last week. On Wednesday, the Panthers posted a 12-10 victory over #7 Hamilton on Steuben Field, but fell had their 11-game winning streak snapped when they were defeated Saturday by top-ranked Trinity, 16-7.

In Tuesday’s win, Middlebury senior Katie Ritter (Middlebury, Vt.) scored four goals and added three assists, Junior Laurel Pascal (Greenwich, Conn.) chipped in with four goals for the Panthers and leads the team with 33. Junior Chrissy Ritter (Middlebury, Vt.), sophomore Mary O'Connell (Norwell, Mass.), junior Alli Sciarretta (Wilton, Conn.) and rookie Evie Keating (Hanover, N.H.) scored one goal each.

Middlebury junior Madeleine Kinker (Rye, N.Y.), who leads the conference with a .544 save percentage, made 12 stops, including eight in the first half. C. Ritter scooped up three ground balls and caused two turnovers, while Pascal won four draw controls.

Hannah Rubin kept Hamilton in the game with a career-high 13 saves. Morgan Fletcher picked up a career-best four ground balls and tied a career high with four draw controls. Hannah Haskell tied a career best with three caused turnovers.

Fletcher scored two goals and added an assist. Caroline McCarthy paced the Continentals with three goals and Ashleigh Stephan tallied two. Taylor Ryan, Nora Klemmer and Casey File scored one goal each, while Darby Philbrick was credited with her fifth assist.

The Panthers never trailed but the score was tied twice at 2-2 early in the first half and at 10-10 midway through the second. Middlebury went ahead for good with 10:35 left when K. Ritter found an open Keating for her first collegiate goal. K. Ritter leads the team with 22 helpers.

Pascal provided a two-goal cushion with 5:46 remaining when she scored after creating some space with a nice spin move inside the circle. After Pascal made it 12-10, Fletcher won the ensuing draw control for Hamilton. She drove right down in front of the goal and squeezed off a shot that was caught by Kinker.

The Panthers kept possession for the next four minutes until Fletcher picked off a pass with a little more than a minute to go. As she ran up the field, she was tripped and lost the ball to Middlebury junior Megan Griffin (Sudbury, Mass.), and the Panthers ran out the final 45 seconds.

Two goals by Pascal gave Middlebury a 2-0 lead just two minutes into the first half. Tallies by McCarthy and Stephan drew the Continentals even with 22:10 left. The Panthers ran off the next four goals for a 6-2 lead with 17:05 remaining. K. Ritter started the spurt with two goals, while C. Ritter and Sciarretta added their 12th and 22nd goals of the season, respectively.

When it seemed Middlebury was going to blow the game open, Hamilton cut its deficit in half on goals by Ryan and Fletcher just 12 seconds apart. Stephan's 17th goal this year was sandwiched between two more scores by K. Ritter, and the Panthers took an 8-5 advantage into the halftime break.

Both teams scored twice in the opening 3:43 of the second half, including Fletcher's team-leading 26th goal for the Continentals that made it 9-7 with 27:48 to go. Pascal restored Middlebury's three-goal lead on a feed from Ritter with 26:17 left.

Hamilton notched the next three goals as the Panthers went nearly 16 minutes without scoring. McCarthy recorded her 19th with 24:32 remaining, File scored with two players draped all over her on a free-position shot with 19:00 to go and Klemmer brought the Continentals even on her 12th goal with 16:32 left. It was the last goal of the game for Hamilton.

On Saturday in a battle of the nation's top two teams, Trinity scored three-straight goals in less than three minutes midway through the first half to turn a 2-2 tie into a 5-2 lead and never let its advantage slip to less than two goals the rest of the way. Karly Simpson started the run with a free-position shot at the 18:31 mark of the first half, while Martha Griffin and Allie Barrett added unassisted tallies moments later. Junior Bridget Instrum (Granby, Mass.) brought the Panthers to within two scores at 5-3 with 12:46 on the clock, but Trinity scored two of the last three goals before the break for a 7-4 halftime lead.

Trinity took a commanding 11-4 lead just over five minutes into the second half. Clare Lyne fed Barrett and Molly Cox for two goals, Simpson assisted Renee Olsen on another, while Cox finished the 4-0 spurt unassisted with 24:39 on the clock. Four of the game's final eight goals were scored on free-position shots, with Griffin scoring two of Trinity's last five tallies to lead all scorers with four goals and one assist for the contest.

Pascal scored twice for Middlebury, while K. Ritter added one goal and one assist. Pascal had two ground balls, two draw controls, two draws and a caused turnover for Middlebury, while Kinker made 10 saves in the goal.

Cox added a hat trick plus an assist, while Lyne totaled two goals and two assists, and Simpson had two goals and one assist. Griffin also notched a game-high eight draw controls and Lyne added five, while Lindsay Mullaney paced Trinity defensively with two ground balls and a caused turnover. Zoe Ferguson, now 7-0, and junior Emily Mooney combined for nine stops for the Bantams.

Trinity held a 16-9 edge in ground balls, outshooting the Panthers, 31-23 on the afternoon.

• Women’s lacrosse record: 11-2
• Up next: 4/22 vs. Williams – 4:30, 4/25 host NESCAC Quarterfinal - TBA