Middlebury led from start to finish as the Panthers moved into the NCAA Quarterfinals with a 14-7 victory over #19 The College at Brockport on Saturday in New Jersey. Next up for eighth-ranked Middlebury (16-4) is top-ranked The College of New Jersey (17-1) at 1:00 p.m. in Lions Stadium on Sunday with the winner advancing to the final four. The Lions advanced with a 14-0 shutout against Mount Union in the opening game of the day.
TCNJ holds a slight 6-5 edge over the Panthers in the all-time series with 10 of those meetings coming in NCAA Tournament play. The lone regular-season meeting came this spring, as Middlebury earned a 6-4 road win.
The Panthers grabbed the lead on the game's initial possession against the Golden Eagles (16-3) when Mary O'Connell converted a pass from behind the net from Hollis Perticone just 39 seconds into the contest. Middlebury doubled its lead less than four minutes later on another goal by O'Connell and she completed the hat trick with 22:49 left in the opening half. Bea Eppler extended the lead to 4-0 with a quick-stick goal, cashing in on a feed from the right side by Kate Zecca.
O'Connell netted her fourth tally of the game with 16:21 showing on the clock, while Perticone tucked a free-position shot inside the right post minutes later for a 6-0 edge. The goal was Perticone's 100th-career point in a Panther uniform. After MG Gately made it 7-0, Andrea Zlinksy put the Golden Eagles on the scoreboard with an even seven minutes left in the half.
Sara DiCenso got the goal back just over a minute later for the Panthers, while Eppler and Zecca each scored in the final 13 seconds of the half for a 10-1 lead.
The Golden Eagles came out motivated in the second half, controlling the first seven minutes of play. Back-to-back goals forced the Panthers to call a timeout before Heather Conklin scored her third goal of the half just one minute later to cut the deficit to 10-4.
Perticone halted the Brockport momentum, finding the back of the net with 21:35 remaining. Casey O'Neill followed with consecutive goals four minutes apart, stretching the lead to 13-4 with 14:17 to play.
Brockport's Dana Kiselica made it 13-5, but Middlebury got the goal right back on a nice pass from DiCenso to Eppler that resulted in the Panthers putting their cushion at nine goals with 11:45 remaining. The game saw only two more goals the rest of the way as Conklin scored with 9:58 left and Jessica Boddery tallied in the final minute, as the Panthers moved on with the 14-7 win.
O'Connell led all players with four goals and an assist, moving into third place on Middlebury career points list with 243 (128 goals and 110 assists). Eppler chipped in with three goals and Perticone scored twice and set up two others, to go along with five draw controls. Emma McDonagh collected a team-high four ground balls and added two caused turnovers. Kate Furber earned the win in goal, making six saves.
Conklin paced the Golden Eagles with four goals, while Cassandra Minerd had four ground balls and two caused turnover. Goalie Sara Shaddock finished with 11 saves.