Courtesy Middlebury Sports Information
HOBOKEN, NJ. — Middlebury won an NCAA Regional for the seventh time as the Panthers (15-4) knocked off ninth-ranked Stevens Institute of Technology in a road contest on Sunday evening. Middlebury rookie Virginia Charman scored her first two career goals to lead the Panthers to the victory. The Ducks, who were shutout for just the second time this season, had won six-straight matches and end their season with a 19-2 mark.
Middlebury advances to the NCAA Sectionals where it will meet Messiah next Saturday, while Williams will take on Johns Hopkins in the other match-up. The site of the matches games will be announced on Monday.
Stevens had a couple of good looks early, including a nice cross by Rabba Nassif that was cleared away by Panther defender Alex Barber.
Middlebury came back in the 25th minute when Sabrina Glaser ran onto a ball 15 yards out, but Stevens’ goalkeeper Lindsey Mahnken thwarted the attempt. Glaser had another chance three minutes later, but her shot after a centering pass from Caitlin Magruder went just wide.
Coming off the bench for the first time this season, Middlebury’s Adrianna Gildner had two nice opportunities to put her team on the board. The first was a hard shot in the 32nd minute that was denied by Mahnken. The second came minutes later when she missed just left in a two-on-one break.
Middlebury finally broke through with 1:19 remaining in the first half, when Charman scored her first career goal. Gildner broke in on the right side and sent a centering pass to Charman, who one-touched a shot into the left side of the net.
Early in the second half, Gildner found Clare Robinson, whose shot was headed toward an open net before Duck defender Olivia Butera cleared the ball off the goal line. The play resulted in a corner kick, and Panthers cashed in. Gildner served the ball from the right said that was cleared toward the 18, where Sharman volleyed it into the right side of the net for her second of the game, just 2:53 into the half.
Trailing by two, Stevens turned up the pressure with a couple of chances. Following a corner kick, Middlebury’s Amanda Hotvedt headed a scoring chance out of danger. Just a minute later, Stevens’ Julia Panko let a rocket go that sailed just over the crossbar.
Gildner threatened twice in the 60th and 61st minutes, with her first shot going wide and her second chance denied by Mahnken. Middlebury nearly took a 3-0 lead in the 72nd minute, but Glaser’s sliding shot on a feed from Gildner went just wide.
Gabby Mathelier of Stevens took a solid shot at the 73:29 mark, but Panther keeper Ursula Alwang was equal to the task, making the save. Rachel Chavin had a similar shot in the 78th minute, but her attempt was right at Alwang, who made the stop.
Gildner kept coming for the Panthers, nearly putting the match out of reach in the 82nd minute with a great shot that was saved by Mahnken.
Stevens did not let up, with its best chance of the match coming at the 83:29 mark when Zisi Komar’s shot hit the crossbar. The Ducks followed that up with another golden opportunity, but Misha Brewster’s header on a cross from Gabriella Saade sailed just wide with 3:39 remaining.
The contest game ended with each team owning 15 shots and Stevens holding a slight 5-4 edge in corner kicks. Alwang made five saves in goal to earn her third shutout of the season and also her third post-season win. Mahnken finished with six stops for the Ducks.
Middlebury is now 17-8 all-time in NCAA play, advancing to the quarterfinals in 1997 and 2011, while taking part in the 2013 final four.