Field Hockey Advances In NCAA Play

Olivia Green in action against Babson (Will Costello).
Olivia Green in action against Babson (Will Costello).

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.