Women's Soccer Knocks Off #4 Williams

(L-R): Rebecca Palacios tallied first career goal, the game-winning tally, in the 81st minute, while Amanda Dafonte picked up her first two career assists.
(L-R): Rebecca Palacios tallied first career goal, the game-winning tally, in the 81st minute, while Amanda Dafonte picked up her first two career assists.

Middlebury scored twice in the final 10 minutes to earn a 2-0 win over previously unbeaten and fourth-ranked Williams (13-1-1, 9-1) in the regular-season finale for both teams. The Panthers (6-4-5, 4-3-3) have earned the sixth seed for the upcoming NESCAC Tournament and will visit third-seeded Amherst on Saturday for a quarterfinal match. Williams has secured the top seed and will host eighth-seeded Hamilton on Saturday. The loss for the Ephs was their first in 33 games dating back to a September 20 setback to Amherst last season. Williams entered the game having allowed just five goals this season.

Jamie Soroka had a great look for Middlebury in the 25th minute, but her free kick from 25 yards out was tipped over the crossbar by Williams' keeper Tressa Palcheck. The Ephs had a chance 11 minutes later, as Madison Feeney's shot after a Natasha Albaneze header was saved by Panther keeper Kate Reinmuth.

Still scoreless in the second half, Williams had a couple of chances when Abby Morrs' shot went just wide before Reinmuth won a footrace to the ball with Morrs in the 73rd minute.

Hannah Robinson threatened for Middlebury in the 76th minute with a rocket aimed at the top right corner of the goal from 25 yards away. Palcheck was equal to the task, making a diving save to get a hand on the ball and knock it over the crossbar.

The game winner came at the 80:30 mark when Rebecca Palacios scored the first of her career with Amanda Dafonte earning the first points of her career with the assist. Dafonte had some room on the right side before sending a cross that Palacios one-touched into the back of the net.

Williams came back with substantial pressure before Middlebury turned up the offense in the final three minutes. Amanda Hotvedt gave the Panthers some much-needed insurance with 1:39 remaining, redirecting a cross from Dafonte into an open right side of the net for her third of the year.

Middlebury finished the game with a 15-8 shots advantage, with each team taking three corner kicks. Reinmuth made three saves in goal to earn her fourth shutout of the season, while Palcheck suffered her first loss of 2015, making four saves in the game.