Middlebury advanced to the third round of the NCAA Tournament with a 2-1 win over Babson (19-5). The second-ranked Panthers (18-1) will take on Kean, a 3-1 winner over Endicott, at 1:00 p.m on Sunday in a regional final. The win the was 400th of her career for Middlebury head coach Katharine DeLorenzo (400-126-2).
Babson jumped out early, taking a 1-0 lead just 6:56 into the game. Maddy Paro intercepted a pass in front of the Panther goal and deposited a shot into the right side for her seventh of the year. That proved to be the only shot of the first quarter.
Middlebury tied the game with 5:25 remaining in the second quarter when Erin Nicholas scored her 11th of the season. After a penalty corner, Nicholas created some space by cutting to the right, before scoring with a high shot to the far side.
The Panthers earned the eventual game winner with just eight seconds remaining before halftime. Marissa Baker centered a pass near the goal line on the right side, before Julia Richards knocked it into the back of the cage.
Middlebury had a chance to increase its lead with 7:00 minutes remaining, but a penalty stroke by Nicholas hit the left post.
The Panthers finished the game with an 8-1 shots advantage and a 3-1 edge in penalty corners. Grace Harlan picked up the win in goal for Middlebury, while Cassidy Riley made a pair of saves for the Beavers.
The win extends Middlebury's home winning streak to 35 games and NCAA Tournament winning streak to nine contests.