Field hockey is headed to its 11th final four
BY MIGUEL ESPINOSA
Second-ranked field hockey triumphed in NCAA regionals after scoring wins against Babson College and Kean University in the first and second rounds, respectively.
The team will advance to the NCAA tournament’s Final Four where it will face off against third-ranked Salisbury on Saturday, Nov. 24 in Manheim, Pennsylvania. Should field hockey win the semifinal and championship matchups, the program will earn its third straight title.
The blue and white’s 2–1 victory against Babson proved to be a close battle. While Babson tallied the first goal six minutes into the first period, the Panthers responded with two unanswered goals in the second, thanks to shots by Erin Nicholas ’21 and Julia Richards ’20. Richards was assisted by Marissa Baker ’20. For the rest of the game, the score remained unchanged.
The Panthers then dominated their following matchup against Kean with a convincing 4–1 victory. Katie George ’23, Meg Fearey ’22 and Baker all posted goals within the first ten minutes of the first period and Emma Johns ’20 extended the Panthers’ lead to 4-0 in the third. Kean, however, managed to strike back four minutes later, settling the score to 4–1.
On Nov. 24, the Panthers will journey into the Final Four with an incredibly talented roster and head coach. Midfielder Erin Nicholas captured her second-consecutive NESCAC Player of the Year Honors prior to the Babson game. Having also won Rookie of the Year for the 2017 season, Nicholas becomes the first NESCAC player to win Rookie of the Year and then back-to-back Player of the Year honors.
Nicholas also earned NESCAC first-team honors along with Baker, while Isabel Chandler ’21 and Katie George gained second-team honors. George was named conference Rookie of the Year and Head Coach Katherine DeLorenzo took NESCAC Coach of the Year.
XC logs solid performance at NCAA Regionals
BY JORDAN HOWELL
The Panthers had the opportunity to compete in the NCAA Regional Championships on Saturday, Nov. 16. The women were able to capture fifth place while the men picked up sixth.
The top finisher for the women was Talia Ruxin ’20. She was able to come in 22nd place with a time of 22:07.02. Not too far behind her was Meg Wilson ’20 who captured 25th place with a time of 22:16.22. Another top finisher was Cassie Kearney ’22 whose time of 22:19.60 netted her 27th place.
Theo Henderson ’20 led the men with a fourth place time of 24:59.12. Next up was Henry Fleming ’20 in 25th place with a time of 25:34.06. Connor Montgomery secured 40th place with a time of 25:56.47.
Both the women and the men received bids to compete in the NCAA Championships and they will be racing on Saturday, Nov. 23. If the Panthers show up with the same energy and determination that they have demonstrated all season, they will be a tough pack to beat.
Men’s soccer falls in penalty kicks
BY MIGUEL ESPINOSA
Men’s Soccer fell in its NCAA regional final matchup against 12th-ranked Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI) after three overtimes and a 5–3 penalty-kick thriller. Both sides played excellent defense during regulation, considering that neither the Panthers nor the Engineers scored during regulation. RPI, however, carried the upper-hand in shots, having attempted 16 compared to Middlebury’s nine.
Ben Potter ’20, Kiernan Bhave ’20 and Shams Mohajerani ’20 each connected with the back of the net for the first three rounds of penalty kicks, matching the Engineers 3–3. RPI’s Michael Harten gave then Engineers the advantage, 4–3, when his shot landed successfully. Liam Sloane’s ’22 subsequent kick was blocked and when RPI’s Paul Silva scored to set the penalty-kick tally to 5–3, the match was decided.
The elimination comes after the Panthers defeated Johnson and Wales University in the first round of the NCAA Tournament, 2–0.
Women’s soccer eliminated in NCAAs
BY HEATHER BOEHM
Women’s soccer had its season cut short this past weekend with a heartbreaking loss to Stevens in the round of 32. Middlebury advanced to this second round of play after shutting out the University of New England 2–0 at home on Saturday, Nov. 16.
The conditions were tough for the Vermonters on Saturday when they were forced to compete in single digit weather to kick off NCAA tournament play. With a scoreless game with 18 seconds to go in the first half, senior veterans Olivia Miller and Virginia Charman showed their experience when the duo found a way to get past the UNE defense. Miller picked up her eighth assist of the season as Charman awarded Middlebury its first goal.
Despite creating numerous opportunities, it took Middlebury 30 minutes into the second half to bring their total to two. Eliza Robinson ’21 found the left goal post to solidify her team’s win. The hosts’ 10 shots on goal to the visitor’s zero shows the way in which Middlebury dominated the field.
Sunday’s contest was the true test. With Stevens’ 17–3–1 record and 14 game winning streak, the Panthers knew it was going to be a battle. In just the first few minutes, the Ducks got themselves on the board with an impressive shot by Gianna Nitti ’22 on a direct kick.
The game held a score of 1–0 until well into the second half. Once again, Robinson showed up with a well-placed slap to the left post to tie the game. With about 15 minutes left on the clock, Middlebury suffered some bad luck. A shot from Stevens bounced off of a Panther defender and found its way into the goal.
Middlebury seemed to dictate play with its 11 shots on goal compared to Stevens’ three, but just did not have the same luck. The Panthers say goodbye to six seniors, who contributed greatly to the team’s overall successful 2019 year. Among the seniors, Virginia Charman and Ursula Ulwang ’20 were recently selected as First-Team All-NESCAC Honorees.
Fortunately, the Panthers will return plenty of talent next year, when they return First-Team Selections Isabelle Hartnett ’21 and Gretchen McGrath ’21, and Second-Team Selectee Simone Ameer ’22.