Courtesy Middlebury Sports Information
MIDDLEBURY — Middlebury’s Ellie Greenberg scored the game’s only goal midway through the second half, as the Panthers secured a 1-0 victory over Misericordia on Sunday in the NCAA Quarterfinals. Middlebury (18-1-3) advances to the final four for the second time in program history, while setting a program record for wins in a single season. The Panthers will meet top-ranked and undefeated Washington University of St. Louis in a semifinal contest at 5:00 p.m. eastern on Friday, November 30th in Greensboro, North Carolina. The Cougars saw their 13-game unbeaten streak (12-0-1) come to an end, as they capped the season at 17-3-2.
The chances were limited through the opening 45 minutes of the contest, but each team had a quality opportunity. In the 29th minute, Middlebury’s Olivia Miller made a nice run up the right side before lofting a crossing pass into the penalty area. Gretchen McGrath settled the ball from on the left side of the goal and fired a rising shot, but Cougar defender Zoee Farr blocked the bid to prevent the hosts from getting on the scoreboard.
Five minutes later, Misericordia’s Madison Carlo sent a pass to Kendall Pearage inside Middlebury penalty area, forcing Panther keeper Ursula Alwang to stop the Pearage’s shot right off of her foot.
The visitors had s strong start to the second stanza and nearly tied the game with eight minutes expired. Hannah Techman lofted a shot from 30 yards that sailed toward the Middlebury net, that Alwang had to punch over the cross bar. Misericordia had another good scoring chance with 25:44 showing on the clock when Ashley Edgell’s header on a cross from the left wing went inches wide of the right post.
Middlebury quickly countered, with Sabrina Glaser getting a pass to Ellie Greenberg inside the Misericordia penalty area. Greenberg used a quick burst of speed to create a shooting lane and fired a shot into the right side of the net with 24:06 remaining. It was her sixth tally the season and her second of the sectional round, with both goals proving to be game winners.
Minutes later, the Panthers had two good attempts to add an insurance goal with Simone Ameer getting both opportunities. Her first bid was stopped by a Cougar defender along the goal line, while her second shot was just wide of the right post.
Misericordia made a final surge in the last two minutes, but Alwang pushed out a service into the penalty area and then collected a loose ball to finish off her eighth shutout of the season.
Alwang finished the contest with two saves, while Misericordia’s Alexis Benedetto had five stops. The hosts held a 12-4 advantage in shots and a 4-2 edge in corner kicks.
This marked the third meeting in the last seven years between the two programs in the NCAA Tournament, with the Cougars getting a 1-0 victory in 2012 and the Panthers responding with a 5-1 triumph a year later.