Second-ranked Middlebury (14-1, 9-1) closed out the regular season with a victory, beating No. 7 Williams (12-3, 7-3) by a score of 2-1 Tuesday night on Kohn Field. Both teams will host NESCAC Quarterfinal games on Saturday at 12:00 p.m. The final seedings will be determined following the Tufts vs. Bowdoin game Wednesday night. A Bowdoin win gives Middlebury the #1 seed, while a Jumbo victory gives Tufts the top spot.
Middlebury took the early lead off a flurry in front of the Eph net. Danielle Brown's bid was stopped by a defensive save Marissa Feller, but an ensuing foul along the goal line resulted in a penalty stroke. Erin Nicholas took the stroke for the hosts and fired a low shot into the left side of the cage for a 1-0 lead with 10:38 on the clock.
In the second frame, Williams pulled even with 1:55 expired on a penalty corner. Elizabeth Welch's shot was blocked and Emma Ticknor turned on the free ball a slid a shot into the right portion of the net for her NESCAC-leading 14th tally of the season.
In the third stanza, the hosts cashed in on an early penalty corner to reclaim the lead. Emma Johns sent a crisp pass through the shooting circle to the right side, where Nicholas tucked a shot inside the right post for a 2-1 cushion with 9:52 on the clock. The tally was her team-leading 10th of the season.
In the final 15 minutes, the Panthers came close to taking a two-goal lead when Julia Richards cut to the front of the net and fried a shot off the left post with just under six minutes remaining. Middlebury's defense clamped down not only in the final period, but the final 30 minutes holding the Ephs without a shot.
Panther goalie Grace Harlan finished with two saves to earn the win, while Abby Lloyd registered four for Williams. The hosts held a 16-4 edge in shots and took six of the game's 10 corners.
Middlebury extended its home winning streak to 31 games dating back to the 2017 season.