High Flying Women’s Soccer Scores Seven


Jamie Soroka ’16 nets the third goal of the game after a through ball from Moria Sloan ’15. The Panthers blanked the Bears with a score of 5-0 on Saturday, Nov. 16. (Campus/Anthea Viragh)

By Alex Morris

The Middlebury women’s soccer team continued its dream season with a NCAA regional championship win, defeating Bridgewater State 5-0 on Saturday, Nov. 16, and Endicott 2-1 on Sunday, Nov. 17.

On Saturday, Middlebury established their dominance early, putting Bridgewater on the back foot from the outset. Strong Panther pressure forced the Bears out of possession and to make mistakes. Bridgewater wasn’t able to replicate the same kind of strong defense, mistiming tackles and allowing Middlebury free pockets of space.

In the first 30 minutes, it looked like Middlebury would be left to rue missed opportunities as the Panthers, despite numerous opportunities, struggled to find the back of the net. In particular, Scarlett Kirk ’14 benefited from long balls past the defense, beating the back line with her power and speed.

In the 22nd minute, Ali Omsberg ’15 played a ball to open up space for Kirk, but Bridgewater keeper Kerry Condon slid to challenge the Panthers striker before she could get a shot off. Just minutes later, Julie Favorito ’14, recently crowned NESCAC Player of the Year, found herself with the ball in front of the net after a lofted pass into the box, but she could manage only a tame shot to the goalkeeper.

Middlebury found its breakthrough 34 minutes into the game, starting with a free kick from Molly Parizeau ’15 into the box. Kirk was able to head the ball from the endline behind her to find Adrianna Gildner ’15, who tucked the ball into the corner with a cool volley.

The Panthers finished the half strongly, doubling their lead in the 42nd minute. After great play down the left hand side by Katlyn Casey ’15, Gildner tempted the keeper out of position before playing a pass into the middle of the box to find Grace Woroch ’17. Woroch acted fast to pull off a shot that was almost cleared by a Bears defender, but benefited from a bounce off the post into the goal.

Despite a 2-0 lead, Middlebury came out in the second half hungry for more goals. They didn’t have to wait long, as their lead grew just five minutes into the second half. Moria Sloan ’15 played a great feed from the left hand side to find Jamie Soroka ’16 unmarked, with her shot slipping past the weak hands of Condon to find the far post.

Middlebury continued to cut Bridgewater open with ease, increasingly growing more confident in the game. Woroch got her brace in the 66th minute, placing the ball between the keeper’s legs from Kirk’s endline cross. Amanda Hotvedt ’17 rounded off the scoring for Middlebury by converting a penalty kick in the 70th minute to bring the Panthers lead to five goals.

With four different goal scorers in the game, a stark contrast to last season, head coach Peter Kim is happy with how his team is progressing.

“It’s much more indicative of our style that there are more goal scorers this year,” Kim said. “It also shows how good our team chemistry is that we have more players contributing in big ways.”

Middlebury finished with a 20-2 shots advantage in the game, with Elizabeth Foody ’14 making one save in 68 minutes, while Kate Reinmuth ’17 made no saves in 2 minutes of play.

Riding high, Middlebury entered the Regional Championship game against Endicott full of confidence. The Panthers controlled the tempo early with Endicott not able to get a touch on the ball.

The score didn’t remain goalless for long, as 14 minutes into the game the Panthers earned a corner kick after Soroka played a ball down the left hand side and Kirk pressured the defender into kicking the ball out. Sloan stepped up to place an inch perfect corner into the box that Kirk nodded into the back of the net.

The Panthers seemed to come alive after their goal, with numerous chances going wanted. In the 20th minute, Kirk seemed trapped on the endline with pressure from a defender, but with fancy footwork, she managed to swivel to loft a pass that Carter Talgo ’15 who couldn’t quite connect with it. Favorito came close just minutes later after ripping a shot from outside the box after a short free kick from Sloan. Robinson had the last real chance in the game after turning and drilling a powerful from the top of the 18 that just grazed the fingertips of the Endicott keeper.

Middlebury came out in the second half and continued to dominate the game, albeit at a slower pace. The Panthers continued knocking on the door, but couldn’t quite cash in on a second goal.

Kirk almost got on the board again in the 65th minute when Sarah Noble ’14 sent a bouncing ball towards the goal. Kirk and Endicott keeper Katie Donnelly both challenged for the ball, but missed it as Gull defender Clare Mansfield clear the ball away on the goal line.
With 19 minutes left in the game, Parizeau played a ball across the field to find Soroka at the far post who executed an impressive jumping volley, but was denied by offside.

The Panthers finally found their second goal after impressive solo work from Gildner in the 79th minute. The first-year forward battled with a defender on the right hand side and with a quick burst of pace and step-over found herself with just enough time to let loose a curer that nestled into the top left hand corner.

Gildner almost got a second in similar fashion just minutes later after speeding through the Endicott backline, but after losing her balance she could only manage a tame shot at the onrushing goalie.

An Endicott consolation goal in the final four minutes of the game made for a nervous last few minutes for the Panthers. After LeeAnn Card sent a pass along the end line, Foody was only partially able to stop it before Selby McLenithan bounced on the loose ball to smash it into the net. Endicott almost looked like challenging again with just two minutes left, but a shot from Madison Missinne sailed over the crossbar.

Despite the win, tri-captain Favorito is sure not to let the team get ahead of itself.

“There was definitely an overall consensus that we should have dominated the Endicott game more than we did,” Favorito said. “But in the end the win was all we needed to get to the sweet sixteen so the team is very excited to have made it this far.”

Middlebury has won the right to host the NCAA sectional game against Misericordia on Saturday, Nov. 23. After falling to Misericordia in the NCAA Regional Championship game last year, Kim is looking for a different result.

“I expect a really strong team, at least as strong as last year,” Kim said. “I felt we outplayed them and especially outshot them, but sometimes soccer is a tragic game, and sometimes it beats you. We feel strong going into this game and we know it’s going to be a good one.”