Middlebury Advances To NCAA Regional With 22-3 Win

Hope Robertson scored three times in Sunday's win over Johnson & Wales. (Will Costello)
Hope Robertson scored three times in Sunday's win over Johnson & Wales. (Will Costello)

Third-ranked Middlebury received goals from 10 different players, as the Panthers advanced to the NCAA Regionals with a 22-3 triumph over Johnson & Wales on Sunday. The Panthers (18-1), who extended their winning streak to 18-straight games, will face NESCAC opponent Bowdoin next weekend, with Middlebury expected to serve as the host. The Wildcats capped their successful season at 17-5.

The teams traded goals in the opening minutes of the contest, with Middlebury's Erin Nicholas scoring on a feed from Emily Barnard, while Dani Lydecker converted on a free-position attempt for the visitors with 28:43 on the clock.

The Panthers responded by netting the final 16 goals of the frame, including seven over the next eight minutes. Middlebury's balance was evident during that burst, as seven different players tallied for an 8-1 lead with less than 10 minutes expired.

Kate Zecca scored for the hosts with a high shot to the left side and Hope Robertson tallied just over a minute later in transition, putting Middlebury into double figures. The Panthers extended the advantage to 17-1 at the half, as Zecca closed out the frame with 19 seconds remaining with her third goal of the stanza.

The hosts maintained possession for the initial seven minutes of the second half, as Zecca and Riseberg each tallied during that time. Lydecker broke through for a marker for the Wildcats with 22:24 on the clock, with a high shot coming from the right side.

Middlebury netted the next three goals over a span of 6:25, as Grace Getman, Riseberg and Robertson each scored in succession. JWU's Maria Patane collected the final goal of the contest, making the final 22-3.

Riseberg finished with a career-high five goals and six points, while Zecca picked up four goals and an assist. Robertson added to the attack with her first collegiate hat trick. Erin Nicholas secured a game-high five draw controls, while Emma White scooped up three ground balls. Julia Keith (16-1) made three saves in the opening half, while Kate Furber made four stops in the final 30 minutes.

Lydecker tallied two of the three goals for the Wildcats and added four draw controls, while Madeline Bishara and Marley Medina each recorded three draws. In goal, Cassidy O'Hara finished with eight saves.

For the 14th-straight game, Middlebury's defense held an opponent to single digits and the 17th time overall. The team's defense also kept JWU's Allison Pazienski off the scoresheet, as she entered the contest among the national leaders in goals with 105.

The hosts held a 39-13 advantage in shots and a 17-9 edge in ground balls.