Women’s Soccer Receives NCAA Tournament Bid

By Tom Clayton

The Middlebury women’s soccer team was informed that it had received a bid to the NCAA tournament on Monday.

The Panthers will host an NCAA regional bracket at Dragone Field this weekend. Play begins on Saturday, Nov. 10 when the Panthers (12-2-1) play Castleton State (15-4-1) at 11 a.m.

Later in the day, Misericordia University (17-2-1) will take on Lesley University (16-2-1) at 1:30 p.m. The winner of each matchup will meet in the Regional Final on Sunday, Nov. 11 at 1:30 p.m.

For the team the announcemnet was both a relief and full of emotion. A number of the women’s team were gathered together when the announcement was made.

“There was a lot of joy — there were some tears from a couple of seniors,” said senior captain Colby Gibbs ’13. “A wave of relief came over everyone [when we found out].”

After losing to Wesleyan in the quarterfinal of the NESCAC tournament at home last Saturday, Oct. 27, the future of the Panthers’ season was uncertain. Things became increasingly bleak when Amherst fell in the NESCAC Championship game on penalty kicks, making an at-large bid for Middlebury even less likely.

With Sunday’s announcement looming, the team continued to practice over the last week in the hope of receiving the bid. Now that the season has been restored, the team has the promise of at least one more game and a week to prepare for its upcoming Vermont rival.

“I think [being on our last legs] has helped us,” Gibbs said. “Now it’s back to just focusing on one game at a time.”

Their NCAA birth marks a successful fall season for Middlebury women’s athletics. The team became one of three women’s teams to advance to the NCAA tournament this fall. The volleyball team will head to Clarkson for regional play beginning Friday with a match against Southern Vermont, while the field hockey team will host a regional bracket this weekend at Kohn Field.

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