With a tough 1-0 win over Misericordia University on Nov. 18 and a goal scored by Ellie Greenberg ’20, the women’s soccer team moves onto the semifinal game this Friday in the NCAA championship tournament in Greensboro, N.C.
Middlebury will face the Washington University Bears in St. Louis to compete for a spot in the final championship game, while Williams and Christopher Newport University and Williams will duke it out for the remaining spot.
The team was in the same position five years ago, during the 2013 season, but ended their journey at the Final Four. There has never been a NCAA finals appearance in Middlebury women’s soccer history.
The Panthers are hoping to change that. “This season has been so incredibly special. We said on the first day of preseason that there was an energy on this team that felt like this was going to be our year. And it has been,” said senior captain Amanda Dafonte.“We still have more to give. We are so proud of ourselves for getting to this point but this team is determined to win it all.”
Still, no matter the outcome of Friday’s game, having earned this exceptional experience will remain a highlight for the team — the rest is icing on the cake.
“This is such a unique, rare, and special opportunity for all of us. I think we are all just incredibly happy and honored to be going to the Final Four and to be considered one of the top four teams in the country,” Dafonte said.
Co-captain Abby Blyler ’19 agreed with Dafonte’s thoughts. “It’s really humbling to be in this position. There are a lot of teams whose seasons have ended, and we have the opportunity to keep playing and to do so at a high level, which I think we all are really grateful for.”
“It’s not over yet,” Blyler said, “and hopefully we’ll be able to bring home the national championship.”