#5 Women’s Lacrosse Posts 2-1 Record Against Top-20 Foes

Mary O'Connell scored the game-tying and game-winning goals against TCNJ.
Mary O'Connell scored the game-tying and game-winning goals against TCNJ.

The fifth-ranked Middlebury women’s lacrosse team posted a 2-1 record during three games against opponents ranked in the top 20 last week. On Monday, the Panthers scored three times in the game’s final 5:49 to pick up a 6-4 road win over second-ranked The College of New Jersey on Monday night at Lions Stadium. On Wednesday, Franklin & Marshall’s Gabby Frank scored 45 seconds into overtime, lifting the third-ranked Diplomats past Middlebury 9-8 in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. Returning home Saturday to Kohn Field, the Panthers scored the game’s first four goals and never looked back, defeating #19 Amherst by a 13-3 score in NESCAC play.

On Monday at TCNJ, the Lions took a 1-0 lead at the 17:13 mark of the first half on a tally from Allie Gorman. The lead doubled with 5:14 remaining when Emily Kratz found the back of the net for a 2-0 advantage.

Middlebury got on the board with just four seconds left in the half when rookie Kate Zecca (Lessburg, Va.) converted a free-position attempt for her third goal of the year.

The Lions made it a two-goal game 2:12 into the second session on a goal from Kathleen Jaeger. Just 2:27 later, Middlebury senior Mary O’Connell (Norwell, Mass.) pulled her team within one at 3-2 with an assist from junior Georgia Carroll (Lutherville, Md.).

The Lions again made it a two-goal game when Alex Fitzpatrick was successful on a free-position attempt at the 16:06 mark of the second half. The Panthers again answered, this time it was sophomore Emma McDonagh (Reading, Mass.) converting a pass from junior Hollis Perticone (Norwalk, Conn.) for her 12th tally of the season.

O’Connell netted her second of the game with 5:49 remaining, knotting the contest at 4-4 when she scored after a feed from Zecca.

Middlebury took its first lead of the contest 3:15 later on the third of the game from O’Connell, who converted a free-position attempt.

The Panthers won the ensuing draw control as Perticone came up with the ball. Middlebury gained some breathing room a little over a minute later when sophomore Sara DiCenso (Glastonbury, Conn.) found classmate Casey O’Neill (Burlington, Vt.) for her ninth goal of the season and a 6-4 lead with 1:30 remaining.

Perticone again came up big on the draw as the Panthers gained possession and were able to run out the clock. The draw control was her third of the contest.

O’Connell’s three goals paced Middlebury, while sophomore Alex White (Dover, Mass.) picked up five ground balls. Sophomore Kate Furber (Essex, Mass.) went the distance in goal, picking up 10 saves.

Four different players scored for TCNJ, with Amanda Muller dishing out two helpers. Miranda Chrone made a pair of saves in goal. The Panthers were outshot 27-12 in the game and were able to overcome 21 turnovers, while causing 14.

This was the first regular season meeting between the schools with all 10 of the previous contests coming during NCAA Tournament play. The teams last met in the NCAA Quarterfinals in 2007 on Kohn Field, with the Panthers edging out an 11-10 win.

On Wednesday, Franklin & Marshall opened the scoring 3:07 into the contest on a goal by Grace Norley, while Gabby Frank and Hannah Sterling followed with free-position tallies. After a score by Paige Moriarty put the hosts in front 4-0, the Panthers quickly answered. Carroll took advantage of a free-position attempt with 6:28 left in the half to put the visitors on the board, while Perticone made it 4-2 just 26 seconds later after DiCenso won the draw control. The hosts gained some momentum back in the final minute of the frame when Norley netted her second goal of the game with 15 seconds on the clock, giving F&M a 5-2 lead at the break.

Middlebury had a strong start to the second stanza, scoring three-straight goals to tie the game at 5-5. McDonagh buried a free-position attempt with 2:56 expired, while Perticone made it a one-goal contest 19 seconds later with an unassisted tally. The Panthers tied the score with 23:12 on the clock when O’Connell tallied on a free-position shot.

The Diplomats responded with goals from Norley and Natalie Delinsky to go back in front 7-5 midway through the half. Sophomore Henley Hall (Denver, Colo.) got Middlebury to within 7-6, converting on free-position attempt with 8:02 remaining. After F&M regained its two-goal lead, Perticone won the ensuing draw control and used her speed to create a breakaway, scoring on a high shot for her third tally of the game. O’Connell tied the game at 8-8 with 5:10 left in regulation with her team-leading 20th of the season.

The Diplomats had the only possession of the extra period, with Frank netting the game winner from in front of the Panther net on a feed from Maddie Hughes.

Perticone led Middlebury with three goals, while O’Connell netted a pair. On the defensive side of the field, junior Evie Keating (Hanover, N.H.) finished with two caused turnovers and Zecca had a pair of draw controls. Furber finished with four saves and had a game-high five ground balls.

Norley posted a four-point game (3g, 1a) for the Diplomats and Frank added two goals and an assist. Danielle Harrington earned the win in goal, finishing with five stops.   

F&M held a slim 21-19 edge in shots and 10-9 in draw controls, while the Panthers had a 10-9 advantage in ground balls.      

In Saturday’s home win, four different players scored for the Panthers in the opening 11:38 for the 4-0 advantage. Amherst got on the board at the 14:03 mark when Kate Wyeth converted in transition after a Panther turnover.

Neither team scored for nearly nine minutes until McDonagh converted a free-position attempt with a bouncing shot. She struck again with just 12 seconds remaining in the half on another free position, this one came from the top of the circle, giving her team a 6-1 lead at the intermission.

Perticone scored driving down the middle 3:41 into the second half, before a side-arm shot from senior Bea Eppler (New Canaan, Conn.) converted a free position for an 8-1 lead. Julia Crerend and Claire Cagnassola scored for Amherst with McDonagh’s fourth of the game sandwiched in between, making it a 9-3 contest.

Middlebury scored the final four tallies of the game, including three from rookie Elsa Hermanson (Mountain Lakes, N.J.), making it a 13-3 final.

McDonagh scored four goals on four shots to lead the Panthers, while Hermanson’s three tallies came on three shots. Perticone earned a game-high four ground balls, while Keating caused three turnovers. Furber played a great game between the pipes, finishing with 13 saves and picking up five ground balls.

Kelly Karczewski’s three ground balls and a pair of caused turnovers by Sabina Solow aided the Amherst effort. Kyra Gardner made four saves and allowed eight goals in 34:32, while Talia Land earned two stops, while giving up five goals in 25:28.

• Women’s lacrosse record: 7-2
• Up Next: 4/5 at Hamilton – 5:00 p.m., 4/8 vs. Bates – 12:00 p.m.