Women's Lax Holds Off Amherst - Advances to NESCAC Semifinals

Kate Furber made 12 saves in goal for the Panthers.
Kate Furber made 12 saves in goal for the Panthers.

Middlebury held off a late charge by Amherst (6-9) for an 8-7 win in a NESCAC Quarterfinal game played on Kohn Field. The Panthers (13-3) will host next weekend's semifinals, taking on Colby Saturday at 12:00 p.m. Trinity and Hamilton will meet in the other semifinal at 2:30 p.m. The winners will battle on Sunday at 1:00 p.m. in the NESCAC Championship game.

Trailing 2-1, top-seeded Middlebury went on a 3-0 run, taking a 4-2 lead at the 16:30 mark. Bea Eppler scored on a rebound after an initial shot by Casey O'Neill had been saved. O'Neill notched the next goal on a dish from behind the net from Emma McDonagh. Mary O'Connell followed, scoring on a pass in transition from Hollis Perticone.

Eighth-seeded Amherst answered back at 16:06, when Kelly Karczewski drove down the right side, making it a 4-3 game. At the 14:54 mark, the Mammoths knotted the contest at 4-4 when Kate Wyeth converted a pass from Hannah Fox. Neither team scored for the next 13:19, until Eppler found the back of the net, giving the Panthers a 5-4 advantage at the intermission.

Middlebury wasted little time out of the break, as Perticone won the opening draw and assisted Eppler, giving the Panthers a 6-4 lead. Middlebury's lead grew to a game-high three goals (7-4) when O'Connell found the back of the net on a free position shot. Amherst responded at the 19:18 mark as Julia Crerend netted a goal on a dish from Fox.

Following 13:49 of scoreless action, Perticone made a pass from up high to Sara DiCenso, who turned and scored, making it an 8-5 game with 5:29 to go. The Mammoths answered at 3:44 when Wyeth cut to the left, making it a two-goal game. Amherst had a chance to close the gap to one goal, but Panther goalie Kate Furber came up big on Wyeth with 2:40 remaining.

The Mammoths cut the deficit to 8-7 when Crerend netted a goal at the 1:55 mark. Amherst had one last chance to score late, but Karczewski's shot was denied by Furber. 

Eppler led all scorers with three goals, while O'Connell and DiCenso each added a pair. Perticone finished with three assists and six draw controls and leads the NESCAC with 68 draws. McDonagh dished out two assists in the game to go along with a pair of ground balls. Alex White caused a pair of turnovers for the Panther defense, as Furber finished with a dozen saves.

Crerend, Karczewski and Wyeth each scored twice for Amherst, with a goal, two assists and four draws from Fox. Sabrina Solow picked up six ground balls and caused six turnovers, Katherine Malone earned three ground balls and caused three turnovers. Kyra Gardner made 12 saves in goal for the Mammoths.

Middlebury improved to 7-0 at home this season, extending its winning streak to 14 games on Kohn Field dating back to last season.