Seventh-ranked Middlebury scored the first six goals of Wednesday's NESCAC contest on Kohn Field, cruising to an 18-5 victory over Williams (4-10, 1-9) in the regular-season finale for both teams. Middlebury (12-3, 8-2) will host Amherst in a NESCAC Quarterfinal game on Saturday at 12:00 p.m.
The Panthers opened the scoring 2:16 into the game when Mary O'Connell tallied on a bouncing shot between the legs of Williams' goalie Margaret Draper. Middlebury recorded five goals over the next 7:26, including a pair from MG Gately, O'Connell's second tally and single scores from Emma McDonagh and Hollis Perticone.
The Ephs got on the scoreboard with 16:25 left in the opening half when Ang Vecchiarelli picked up a loose ball just outside the Panther crease, firing a shot just over the shoulder of Middlebury goalie Kate Furber. A little less than two minutes later, Williams cut the Panther advantage to four at 6-2 when Jenna Chodos was the recipient of a nice pass from Katie Gallop for the bouncing tally.
Middlebury closed the half with five-consecutive goals for an 11-2 lead at the intermission. Jenna McNicholas had a pair during the run, while Gately added her third of the game in the final seconds.
In the second half, McNicholas gave the Panthers a 12-2 edge a little more than two minutes into the new stanza, but Chodos scored on a free-position attempt two minutes later for her second of the game. The Panthers recorded five-straight goals over the ensuing nine minutes from five different players. Chodos and Emma Tenbarge scored for the Ephs in the final minutes, while O'Connell netted her fourth of the game and 31st of the year for the final 18-5 tally.
Gately led the Panther offense with a career-high six points on three goals and three assists, while O'Connell (4-1-5) and McNicholas (4-0-4) each had four tallies. Gately and Delaina Smith had a pair of caused turnovers, while Perticone snagged a career-best nine draw controls to go along with three ground balls.
Chodos scored three times and had three draw controls to lead Williams, while Tenabarge had three caused turnovers and a pair of ground balls in addition to her goal.
In goal for Middlebury, Furber (10-3) garnered the win with five saves in 41:28 of action, while Alex Freedman logged the final 18:32 with a save. Draper (1-7) had six stops for the Ephs over 41:28, while Ana Alvarenga had a save for Williams.
The Panthers held a 31-13 edge in shots and 19-5 advantage in draw controls. Middlebury was 4-6 on its free-position attempts, while the Ephs were 1-3.