No. 7 Middlebury Tops No. 14 Tufts in NESCAC Quarterfinal

MIDDLEBURY, Vt. Middlebury advanced to the NESCAC semifinals with a 12-8 win over Tufts on Kohn Field. The third-seeded Panthers (11-3) advance to next weekend's championship tournament at Trinity, where they will battle fourth-seeded Amherst. Sixth-seeded Tufts falls to 9-6 on the season.

The game was a rematch of last year's NESCAC Quarterfinals, where the #5 Jumbos knocked off the #4 Panthers, 13-12. The two teams met back on March 25th in Medford, a 16-5 Middlebury win.

Middlebury took a 2-0 lead in the first 4:49 on goals from Michaela Colbert and Katie Ritter. Tufts' Kerry Eaton scored with a pass from behind the net by Kelly Hyland, before Middlebury's Liza Herzog scored with a great fake after a feed from Hannah Deoul to make it a 3-1 game. The Panthers led 3-2 before scoring the final five goals of the first half to take an 8-2 lead into the intermission. Emma Kramer scored the first and last goals of the run, converting a feed from Garry in transition with 59 seconds remaining.

Tufts came out strong in the second half, scoring the first four goals to cut the advantage to 8-6 at the 17:19 mark. Eaton scored twice during the run, with Gabby Horner scoring on a drive to the goal to put the Jumbos back in the game.

Colbert converted a free position for Middlebury to end the run, while Liza Herzog followed with a quick turn-around move after a feed from Deoul at the 12:41 mark.

The Jumbos answered with a pair as Eaton found Lara Kozin before converting a free position to make it a 10-8 game with 11:48 remaining.

The turning point in the game came on Tufts' next possession, as Sterling Champion was denied by a big save from Middlebury keeper Lily Nguyen. The tally would've made it a one-goal game, but instead, the Panthers went coast-to-coast as Margaret Souther found Herzog for her third of the game. The goal gave Middlebury an 11-8 lead with 9:29 left to play. Souther added a free position score at the 6:33 mark to secure the victory for the Panthers.

Colbert aided Herzog's effort with three goals of her own, while Souther and Emma Kramer each scored twice. Herzog also caused four turnovers and picked up four ground balls, while Deoul dished out three assists with three ground balls. Nguyen finished the game with five saves to earn the win.

Eaton led all scorers with four goal to go along with an assist and two draw controls. Horner scored twice, Hyland had two assists, while Kelly Cakert had four draw controls, three caused turnovers and three ground balls. Tess Shapanka finished the afternoon with four saves in goal.


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