Women’s Lacrosse Captures Tight Win Against Cardinals

By LAUREN BOYD

Shirley Mao
Junior attacker Emily Barnard scored two goals in the tight match against Wesleyan this past weekend.

This past weekend, the Middlebury women’s lacrosse team improved their record to 3-1, defeating fellow NESCAC competition, the Wesleyan Cardinals, 8-7. Momentum shifted back and forth throughout the game, but the Panthers drove in the winning goal with just five minutes on the clock. 

Though the Cardinals put up the first point of the game, Middlebury came back with force. Within the next 16 minutes of the contest, three Panthers connected with the net: Casey O’Neill ’19, Emily Barnard ’20 and Jenna McNicholas ’19. After another Wesleyan score, McNicholas put the Panthers up 4-2 for her second goal of the game. By halftime, the Cardinals answered with two of their own goals, tying the score 4-4.

The second half became a back-and-forth battle between the offenses. Wesleyan put up three points, countered by another three Panther goals. With five minutes left, Emma McDonagh ’19 capitalized on a free-position shot. The game ended in an 8-7 Panther victory. “Coming into the game we knew Wesleyan was going to be very competitive and the score reflected this: never being more than two goals apart the whole game,” McDonagh said, “We really tried to focus on taking the game one play at a time and not getting distracted by the end goal. We relied on communication to stay composed and are always reminding each other to be confident.”

McDonagh, along with McNicholas and Barnard, each had two goals on the day. The senior emphasized the defense’s ability to step up against a gritty Wesleyan offense.

Benjy Renton
Senior Casey O’Neill stepped up in the first 20 minutes to score Middlebury’s first goal against the Cardinals.

“Wesleyan has some really strong attackers that drive hard to cage and our defense did an incredible job stopping them and playing as a unit,” said McDonagh.

Defender Addy Mitchell ’21 kept the Cardinals’ scoring at bay. The sophomore caused six turnovers throughout the contest, while also recording four ground balls.

Ranked sixth in the nation, the team looks to March 23 when they will play Bowdoin in another NESCAC bout. The Polar Bears are 1-3 for the season and 1-2 in NESCAC play. The Panther squad seeks to improve upon their already-impressive season with their motivation and “grit.”

“This team is talented but really embraces hard work and isn’t afraid to play gritty. I think we have stepped up our intensity in practice, and it serves us well in games,” said McDonagh. “We still have a lot of things we can execute better so we will continue to focus on improving during practice to prepare us for our games.”

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