Panthers Square Off With Williams in NESCAC Semifinals

Panthers Square Off With Williams in NESCAC Semifinals

In search of its second-straight NESCAC Women's Soccer Tournament title and fifth overall, second-seeded Middlebury plays third-seeded Williams in a semifinal match Saturday at 1:30 p.m. on Tufts' Kraft Field. In the first match of the day, the top-seeded Jumbos will meet No. 4 Amherst at 11:00 a.m. The second semifinal will be a rematch of last year's championship game, which Middlebury posted a 1-0 victory. The winners will square off in the championship game on Sunday, November 10 at 12:00 p.m. The NESCAC Champion will earn the league's automatic bid to the NCAA Division III Women's Soccer Championship.

No. 2 Middlebury (12-1-3) and No. 3 Williams (9-4-2) square off in Saturday's second semifinal. Middlebury earned a spot in the semifinals for the sixth time in seven years with a 2-1 victory over No. 7 Wesleyan. Ellie Bavier's goal in the 77th minute proved to be the game-winner for the Panthers. Middlebury is tied with Amherst, allowing a league-low six goals, and has 11 shutouts. The Panthers are averaging 2.13 goals per game and are led by junior Simone Ameer's nine tallies. Senior Olivia Miller has added a team-high six assists and has 12 points. Senior Ursula Alwang has seen the majority of minutes in net and has seven wins, five shutouts, and a 0.44 goals against average, while junior Eva Shaw has played in eight games and is 5-0-1 between the pipes. She owns a .933 save percentage with a 0.19 goals against average. The Panthers are looking to repeat as NESCAC Champions for the first time in program history.

Williams is in the semifinals for the 13th-consecutive season following a 3-2 overtime victory over No. 6 Connecticut College. The Ephs are looking to reach the championship game for the third straight year and the 12th time in 13 seasons. Junior Victoria Laino leads the Ephs in scoring with 18 points on eight goals and two assists. She tallied one goal and helped set up the game-winner that deflected into the net off a Connecticut College defender in the quarterfinal win over the Camels. Senior Whitney Lincoln has played the majority of minutes in net for Williams and owns a 1.16 goals against average with a .814 save percentage. The Ephs have won eight NESCAC titles, their last coming in 2017.

Middlebury and Williams played to a scoreless draw on October 29. The Ephs are 6-3-3 in the 12 matches between the two teams in NESCAC Tournament play. The Panthers picked up their third win in the series in last year's championship match.

Tufts (12-2-2), the top-seed, is hosting the final rounds of the NESCAC Championship for the first time since 2005.  The Jumbos are in the semifinals for the third straight season after a 2-1 double-overtime victory over No. 8 Bowdoin. Sophie Lloyd scored her second straight overtime game-winner against the Polar Bears to give the Jumbos the victory. Tufts is 4-1-1 in its last six matches and is averaging 2.38 goals per game with a 0.60 goals against average. The junior duo of Liz Reed (9-7-25) and Lloyd (7-6-20) make up one of the most dynamic pair of forwards in the league. First-year goalkeeper Hayley Bernstein has played all but 45 minutes in net for the Jumbos and owns seven shutouts to go with a .865 save percentage. The Jumbos last played in the championship game in 2017 and are aiming for their second conference title after winning the NESCAC crown in 2002.

Tufts will host No. 4 Amherst (12-3-1) in the first semifinal, a matchup featuring the top two offenses remaining in the NESCAC Tournament. The Mammoths, who have shut out 12 of their 16 opponents this season, earned a 1-0 overtime victory against No. 5 Hamilton to reach the semifinals for the fourth year in a row. Junior Hannah Gustafson's first goal of the season 1:58 into extra time sealed the win for the Mammoths. Amherst has scored 41 goals (2.56 per game) and is tied for the league-low in goals allowed (6). Sophomore Alexa Juarez is tied for the league lead with 10 goals, including three game-winning tallies, and 22 points. Senior Erica Sanders and junior Antonia Tammaro share goalkeeping duties. Sanders is 7-0-0 with one goal allowed (0.15 GAA) in over 600 minutes of action, while Tammaro has started all 10 games she has appeared in and owns a .902 save percentage with a 0.56 goals against average. Amherst has four NESCAC titles and is looking to reach the championship game for the first time since 2016, when it won its last title.

Tufts posted a 2-1 victory over the Amherst on October 12 this year, but the Mammoths own a 1-0-1 edge in the NESCAC postseason series. Amherst prevailed in a penalty kick shootout over Tufts in the 2003 quarterfinals on its way to winning its second NESCAC title.

Links to live stats and video for all games are available via the NESCAC Scoreboard at NESCAC.com. Results from the NESCAC Championship will be posted on NESCAC.com at the end of each day. Also, follow the action on Twitter (@NESCAC).

2019 Women's Soccer Championship
Quarterfinals - Saturday, November 2 at Higher Seeds
No. 1 Tufts def. No. 8 Bowdoin, 2-1 (2OT)
No. 2 Middlebury def. No. 7 Wesleyan, 2-1
No. 3 Williams def. No. 6 Connecticut College, 3-2 (OT)
No. 4 Amherst at No. 5 Hamilton, 1-0 (OT)

Semifinals - Saturday, November 9 at Tufts
No. 4 Amherst at No. 1 Tufts - 11:00 a.m.
No. 3 Williams vs. No. 2 Middlebury- 1:30 p.m.

Sunday, November 10 at Tufts
Championship - 1:00 p.m.

- Courtesy of the NESCAC -