No. 4 Women’s Lacrosse Tops Camels, St. Lawrence

By HEATHER BOEHM

Coming off of a successful opening weekend, the fourth-ranked women’s lacrosse team showed no signs of slowing down as they extended their win streak last Saturday, March 10. They came out firing on all cylinders in New London, Connecticut, en route to toppling Nescac rival Connecticut College by a 10-goal margin, 12–2. Then in their home opener on Monday, March 12, the Panthers dismantled St. Lawrence 15–3 on Kohn Field to move to 4–0.

The Panthers made themselves comfortable right away on Saturday, as Emma McDonagh ’19 scored her first two goals of the match within the first six minutes of play to give the Panthers a 2–0 lead over the Camels.

Middlebury, hungry to capitalize on its advantage, showed no signs of fading, as McDonagh then assisted Georgia Carroll ’18 and Emily Barnard ’20 on the next two goals. Just before the 10-minute mark, Barnard tallied a second goal, assisted by Kate Zecca ’20, to put the Panthers up 5–0.

After missing much of last season with a foot injury, Barnard has already scored more goals in her sophomore year than in her first year, six to five, and is happy to be back on the field again.

“I fractured my fibula and now have a plate and six screws in my ankle,” Barnard detailed. “It definitely took a while to get back into shape, and I was definitely disappointed to miss out on playing field hockey.”

Although the sophomore’s surgery meant that she had to miss the entire field hockey season last fall and, therefore, their run to a national title, she knows that the time has allowed her to get back on track and ready to contribute to both the lacrosse and field hockey teams going forward.

“That time really allowed me to focus on rehabbing my foot and improving my skills,” Barnard said. “It definitely took longer than expected, but I’m so ecstatic to be healthy and back out on the field with all of my teammates.”

With just under ten minutes left in the half, Conn. College showed some resilience, when Clara Bisson slid a shot past Julia Keith ’20. In the last breaths of the half, Middlebury snuck two more balls in. Carroll notched her second goal of the day, which McDonagh followed moments later with her third goal of the day to secure her first hat trick of the season.

In the second half, the Panthers continued their domination. Kirsten Murphy ’21 kept the momentum going with a strong finish off a good look from Sara DiCenso ’19. Barnard then joined McDonagh in the hat-trick club when she hammered a shot in just seconds after her teammate. Henley Hall ’19 increased the lead to ten when she made a remarkable unassisted effort past the fading Camel defense.

The Panthers closed out the contest with two more goals in the remaining 10 minutes, courtesy of Erin Nicholas ’21 — which marked the first goal of her collegiate career — and Murphy. The Camels were able to get one more shot by Keith before the last whistle sounded, which brought the competition to the final score of 12–2.

A running theme for the Panthers so far this season has been their solid defense. Barnard and her teammates noted that trend continued last weekend.

“Our defense was really solid, especially our goalie [Keith], who saved nine of 11 shots,” said Barnard.

Evie Keating ’18 and Alex White ’19 held a strong defensive line that was headlined by Keating’s four forced turnovers and four ground balls and White’s five forced turnovers and six ground balls. “Conn. College could barely hold on to the ball,” added Barnard.

The chemistry that was notable in the season opening weekend two weeks ago was on display again last weekend.

“Ten of our goals on Saturday were off assists,” Barnard reiterated. “I think that speaks to how well we work together as a team and want to see our teammates succeed.”

Middlebury fell behind Springfield 1–0 on Monday but scored the next eight goals on the way to a 15–3 victory. Carroll scored three more goals to bring her team-leading total to 10, and McDonagh added two goals and three assists.

The No. 4 Panthers will be back in conference action on Saturday, March 17, when they take on Wesleyan at noon in what will be their first bout this season against a ranked opponent.

And their schedule does not get any easier after that, since three of the Panthers’ four opponents after Wesleyan are ranked as well, including No. 2 TCNJ. Middlebury will aim to revenge last year’s 8–4 NCAA regional final loss to TCNJ

Middlebury and Wesleyan are two of the five remaining undefeated teams in the Nescac, along with Amherst, Trinity and Tufts.

UPCOMING SCHEDULE

(NEXT 5)

Three of the Panthers’ next five come against ranked conference opponents, with one of those games (March 31) on the road at Amherst. The No. 4 Panthers will be tested before the calendar turns to April.

Sat. 17 No. 18 Wesleyan, 12 p.m.

Sat. 24 No. 20 Bowdoin, 12 p.m.

Tue. 27 at No. 2 TCNJ, 7 p.m.

Thu. 29 at Montclair St., 3 p.m.

Sat. 31 at No. 14 Amherst, 2 p.m.

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No. 4 Women’s Lacrosse Tops Camels, St. Lawrence