#6 Middlebury Secures Top NESCAC Seed in Win Over Williams

Jenna McNicholas paced the Panthers with four goals in Wednesday's win.
Jenna McNicholas paced the Panthers with four goals in Wednesday's win.

The Middlebury women's lacrosse team scored the first four goals in Wednesday's NESCAC contest en route to an 18-6 victory over Williams (6-9, 2-8) in the regular-season finale for both teams. With the win, sixth-ranked Middlebury (13-2, 9-1) secures the top seed in the NESCAC tournament and will host the eighth-seeded Hamilton in a Quarterfinal game on Saturday at noon.   

Hollis Perticone got the Panthers off to a fast start, scoring just 11 seconds into the game after winning the initial draw control. Middlebury's Jenna McNicholas found the back of the net at the 1:41, before Georgia Carroll and Emma McDonagh each scored, giving the Panthers a 4-0 edge with 18:48 remaining.

Caroline Hogan put Williams on the board at the 19:54 mark, before Sophia Millay scored in transition on a feed from Meghan Halloran to cut the deficit to two (4-2).

The Panthers came back strong, scoring the next five goals of the half. McNicholas and Grace Getman converted free-position tallies, before Sarah Weppler's quick-stick from Perticone made it 7-2 with 7:21 remaining. Goals by Casey O'Neill and Kate Zecca increased the Middlebury lead to 9-2 at the break, with eight players scoring the team's nine goals.

Out of the intermission, Panther Emily Barnard found the back of the net over a Williams defender, to make it 10-2 with 27:30 remaining.

The Ephs responded when Millay found the back of the net on a feed from Claire Fitzpatrick with 26:21 to go in the half. Less than two minutes later, Williams' Olivia Gomez held off a Panther defender to cut the deficit to six (10-4). McDonagh tacked on another goal for Middlebury (11-4), before Millay rocketed a shot past Panther goalie Kate Furber at the 21:23 mark, to make it 11-5.

Kirsten Murphy and McNicholas added goals for Middlebury, before O'Neill's bounce shot on a free-position set extended the lead to 14-5 with 14:38 remaining. Millay earned Williams' final goal with 13:13 left to play, before the Panthers scored the final four tallies of the game, making it 18-6.

McNicholas paced Middlebury with four goals, while O'Neill tallied three. McDonagh and Getman each scored twice, while Alex White scooped up five groundballs and three caused turnovers. Perticone won a game-high nine draw controls. In goal for the Panthers, Julia Keith made two stops during the first half for the victory, while Furber played the final 30 minutes and recorded one save.

Millay led Williams with four tallies, while Meghan Halloran picked up five groundballs and had two assists. Kami Cisneros suffered the loss in goal for the Ephs making one stop in 30 minutes of action, while Ana Alvarenga made one save over the final stanza.