The Middlebury women’s lacrosse team fell short of the NESCAC championship in a nail-biting, overtime tournament final, falling to Trinity this past Sunday in Hartford, by a score of 8-7.
After a come-from-behind win against Colby on Saturday in the NESCAC semifinals, winning by a score of 11-10, the Panthers had to quickly recover and prepare for their matchup against Trinity, who prior to the game was ranked first in the nation.
The Panthers came out flat in the beginning of the first half, allowing five unanswered goals within the first 20 minutes of game play. Middlebury’s effort was jump-started after back-to-back goals from Emma Kramer ’13, both of which were assisted by Liza Herzog ’14. These goals were followed up with a goal from Katie Ritter ’15 off of a feed from Ellen Halle ’13 to make the score 5-3 at the end of the second half.
After a scoreless 10 minutes to start the second half, Middlebury’s Alice Pfeiffer ’13 found the net off a feed from Kramer. Pfeiffer’s goal was answered by a pair of Trinity goals to make the score 7-4 with 18 minutes to play.
The late-game Panther comeback was initiated by Halle with 13 minutes to go. Her goal was followed by a goal from Laurel Pascal ’16, and a game-tying goal with 4:30 left to play from Kramer off of a feed from Herzog.
The game then went to overtime and, after a missed shot by Trinity’s Hadley Duncan and a save from Trinity’s Olivia Whitney, Bantam Caroline Hayes was able to send one past goalkeeper Alyssa Palomba ’14 on a free position shot, scoring the winning goal with 1:37 left in the overtime period.
Herzog, who finished the day with four assists, led Middlebury’s effort along with Kramer who also finished with four points off of three goals and an assist. Halle added a goal and assist for the Panthers, while Pfeiffer, Katie Ritter and Pascal each added a goal of their own for the Panthers. Palomba , who played the entire game in net, finished with seven saves on 15 shots faced.
Kramer commented on the team’s performance against Trinity.
“It was a really tough loss because we played so hard and came so close but in the end it can only make us stronger,” she said. “After a slow start, we learned that we need to be able to put a full 60-minute game together.”
With the loss, the Panthers fall to 15-2 overall on the season, with both losses coming by one goal on the road at Trinity.
Despite falling to Trinity, Middlebury’s strong play throughout the season earned them an at-large bid for the upcoming NCAA tournament, as well as home-field advantage in the tournament’s regional round.
Kramer spoke about the team’s prospects in the national tournament.
“We are really excited to host the first round and hopefully regionals next weekend,” she said. “We also hope that we get another shot at Trinity.”
Given that Trinity is on the other side of the NCAA bracket, Middlebury will have to make it to the finals if the Panthers want another shot at defeating the Bantams.
The tournament begins Wednesday, May 8, when the Panthers matchup against in-state foe Castleton State at 5 p.m. on Kohn Field.