#18 Stevens Slips Past #9 Middlebury In NCAA Second Round

Middlebury's Eliza Robinson protects the ball against a player from Stevens during Sunday's NCAA Second Round contest. (Will Costello)
Middlebury's Eliza Robinson protects the ball against a player from Stevens during Sunday's NCAA Second Round contest. (Will Costello)

The ninth-ranked Middlebury women's soccer team saw its early run through the NCAA Tournament come to a close on Sunday, as the Panthers (14-3-3) fell to visiting Stevens Institute of Technology 2-1 in a second-round match-up. The 18th-ranked Ducks (17-3-1) advance to next weekend's sectional round. The hosts saw their 23-game home unbeaten streak (18-0-5) dating back to the 2017 season halted, while Stevens extended their winning streak to 14 contests.

Stevens jumped out to an early lead, taking advantage of a direct kick in the Middlebury half of the field. Gianna Nitti hooked a restart from 35 yards on the left side that curved around the wall and into the far-right corner of the net for a 1-0 lead with only 2:45 expired.

Middlebury pressed for the equalizer and generated several quality scoring chances. Midway through the frame, Gretchen McGrath put a nice chip toward the front of the Duck net that Simone Ameer headed just over the cross bar. The pair switched roles to produce great bid, as Ameer freed up McGrath with a pass in the penalty area, but Stevens' goalie Izzy DiDario made a diving save to her left to protect the lead. Nitti had another free kick minutes before halftime from the right side, but Panther goalie Ursula Alwang punched the shot away.

In the opening minutes of second stanza, Charman had a shot from the top of the box that sailed high. DiDario later pushed away a 50/50 ball from Middlebury's Eliza Van Voorhis right at the goal mouth, keeping the difference at one. The Panthers pulled even with 23:08 showing on the clock, starting with a free kick outside of the restraining area. Eliza Robinson placed a ball in toward the net that Olivia Miller one-touched inside the left post for her fourth goal of the season.

Stevens scored what turned out to be the deciding tally with 15:04 remaining, when Emily Damrell sent a cross from the right side that hit a Middlebury defender and rolled past a diving Alwang for an own goal. Following the score, Stevens held the Panther attack in check by not allowing a shot over the final 15 minutes.

Alwang finished with one save for Middlebury, while DiDario posted 10 for the Ducks. The hosts held a 21-7 advantage in shots and took four of the contest's six corner kicks.