Middlebury wrapped up its regular season with an 18-9 win over Williams (7-8, 3-7) Wednesday night on Kohn Field. The third-ranked Panthers (14-1, 9-1) clinch the top seed for the upcoming NESCAC Tournament and will host eighth-seeded Bates in a quarterfinal game on Saturday at noon. The Bobcats handed Middlebury its only loss of the season, 11-10 in overtime, in the season opener on March 2.
With the game tied at 1-1, Middlebury's Emily Barnard scored before finding a cutting Jenna McNicholas for a 3-1 lead at the 25:34 mark. The Ephs scored four of the game's next five goals, taking a 5-4 lead on a free-position goal from Sophia Millay with 16:40 on the clock.
The Panthers responded with four-straight goals, going on top 8-5 after a free-position tally from Emma McDonagh to the top-left corner. The teams exchanged the next four goals, leaving the hosts with a 10-7 lead at the intermission. Williams hung strong with Middlebury through the first 30 minutes, aided by a 13-3 edge in draw controls.
The Panthers gained some breathing room when the second half started, scoring the first four goals to double up the Ephs, 14-7. Four different players scored during the run, including a goal and an assist from Jane Earley.
Emma TenBarge broke up the run for Williams with a free-position goal at the 11:58 mark, but the hosts answered with four-straight markers to put the game out of reach. Again, four different players scored during the four-goal spurt, with a goal and an assist from Emma McDonagh. Williams closed the scoring at the 1:12 mark on a tally from TenBarge, making it an 18-9 final.
McDonagh finished with four goals and one assist, Barnard scored twice and assisted on four others, while Erin Nicholas and Grace Getman each netted three goals. Addy Mitchell forced six turnovers and picked up a career-high eight ground balls in the victory. Julia Keith finished with eight saves in goal to pick up the win.
TenBarge and Millay each scored three times for Williams, with a pair from Kara Wollmers. Meghan Halloran won 11 draws, while TenBarge had eight as the Ephs held a 22-7 advantage. Clair Fitzpatrick finished with six ground balls and four turnovers. Kami Cisneros made six saves between the posts.
Middlebury held a 35-24 advantage in shots and a 31-29 edge in ground balls.