Fresh out of three wins over spring break, the Middlebury women’s lacrosse team has not looked back, securing two more wins this week as they head into the second half of the season. With a dominating 9-1 record, the team has continued to develop their skills and competitive edge.
Over spring break, the Panthers journeyed to Maine, Maryland and Pennsylvania, playing against nationally-ranked teams: Bowdoin (ranked 14th), Salisbury (ranked fourth) and York (ranked eighth). The team swept all three games. Against Bowdoin, five goals scored by Jane Earley ’22 in the first half lifted the Panthers past the Polar Bears, with a score of 21-18. Goalies Julia Keith ’20 and Kate Furber ’19 closed out the game with three saves each. Emily Barnard ’20, Emma McDonagh ’19 and Casey O’Neill ’19 were also among the game’s top scorers. Against Salisbury, after rounding out the first half 6-5, Barnard’s three tallies in the second half pushed the team to a 11-6 win. York brought the heat, but the Panthers rose to the occasion and narrowly defeated the Spartans 7-6. Keith earned a whopping 11 saves, a career high for the junior. The match against York harkened back to the NCAA quarterfinals last season, where Middlebury triumphed 11-10. Returning to campus at the end of break for alumni weekend, the team edged Amherst by two, 11-9. After wrapping up the first period 6-4, the Panthers got down to business. Jenna McNicholas ’19 and Barnard’s three back-to-back goals allowed the Panthers to top the Mammoths, who were able to close the scoring gap towards the second half.
Senior captain Sara DiCenso commented on the team’s success over spring break. “We learned that we can be dangerous against teams that play both man and backer defense,” she said. “Also, we really honed our defense throughout the week and came up with some amazing stops in each game.” However, the team will continue to build on certain skills in their road to NCAAs. “We were happy with our performance but know there is always room to improve, especially when it comes to raising our shooting percentage and turning the ball over fewer times,” she said.
At a home game against MIT last Thursday, the Panthers swept their opponents 20-2, scoring 13 goals in a row in the first half. Lily Riseberg ’22 quickly put the team on the board with an unassisted goal 22 seconds after the first whistle. Bringing out many players on the team’s first-year squad, Erica Barr ’22 scored the first two goals of her Middlebury career and Madeline Riordan ’22 added another four to her tally. Sophie MacKeigan ’22 collected three ground balls.
The Panthers hit the road this past weekend for a NESCAC match against Colby. Scoring eight goals in the first half, including four by Erin Nicholas ’21, the Panthers defeated the Mules 14-5. Earley increased their total by four, while Hope Robertson ’22 netted her first goal.
The team will face a doubleheader this weekend after playing Plymouth State, competing against Trinity and Hamilton on the road.