Women’s Lax: Middlebury Tops Bowdoin To Advance to NCAA Quarterfinals

Courtesy Middlebury Sports Information

MIDDLEBURY — Third-ranked Middlebury earned a spot in the NCAA Quarterfinals for the fifth-straight season, as the hosts pulled away from Bowdoin for an 18-9 triumph Saturday on Kohn Field. The Panthers (19-1) extended the nation’s longest winning streak to 19 games and held an opponent to single-digits in goals for the 15th-consecutive contest. Middlebury will face #5 Franklin & Marshall, a 19-7 winner of Illinois Wesleyan, on Sunday at 1:00 p.m. with a spot in the final four on the line, while the Polar Bears cap their season at 10-8.

Bowdoin opened the scoring 23 seconds into the contest, as Fiona Bundy tallied on a high shot from the left side. Middlebury responded with a four-goal run, starting a quick-stick goal from Jane Earley off a nice feed from Emily Barnard. Earley and Barnard added the next two tallies, before Lily Riseberg cashed in on a feed from Erica Barr off a free-position attempt with 15:37 on the clock.

Bowdoin’s Katie Miller and Kate Kelly sandwiched goals around one by Middlebury’s Erin Nicholas to make it a 5-3 contest. Defender Alex White gave the hosts a boost with an end-to-end rush in transition for her first goal of the season. After a marker by Elizabeth Growney for the Polar Bears, the hosts finished the opening frame with scores from Barnard and Grace Getman for an 8-4 lead.

The visitors closed the gap to 8-5 just under two minutes into the second stanza when Bundy slid a shot inside the left post. The Panthers responded with a quick-stick tally by McDonagh and a free-position shot by Getman for 10-5 cushion. Growney converted a low shot on a free-position attempt, but the hosts countered with back-to-back scores just 1:01 apart, extending the lead to 12-6.

Following another Bowdoin goal, the Panthers reeled off five-straight scores to increase the difference to 17-7. During that burst, five different players found the back of the net. The Polar Bears netted two of the final three goals of the contest, making the final 18-9.

Earley paced Middlebury with four goals to go along with four ground balls, two draw controls and two caused turnovers. McDonagh and Getman each had a hat trick with one assist, while Barnard tallied twice and dished out a game-high three assists. Casey O’Neill and Sarah Weppler each corralled five draw controls, while Addy Mitchell had six ground balls for the Panthers. In goal, Julia Keith (17-1) earned the win with six saves.

For Bowdoin, Bundy finished with three goals, while Kate McAloon had four draw controls and Caroline Maxwell collected three ground balls. In goal, Erin Morrissey (9-7) played 30:21 and finished with two saves, while Aaliyah Biondo spent 29:39 in the cage with seven saves.

The hosts held a 35-23 advantage in shots and a 27-17 edge in ground balls.