For the first time in 13 years, Middlebury College will host the final two rounds of the NCAA Division III women’s hockey championship.
Ranked No. 1 in the nation entering the NCAA tournament, the Panthers will host the semifinals, finals and third-place game in Kenyon Arena. Gustavus Adolphus College in Minnesota faces Plattsburgh State in the first semifinal on Friday at 3 p.m., while Middlebury faces Elmira College for a 7 p.m. faceoff that night.
Middlebury advances to the semifinal after a commanding 4–0 victory over Endicott College last Saturday. Rookie Kylie Quinlan ’24 scored three goals while junior captain Eva Hendrikson ’22.5 also netted one.
Quinlan opened the scoring for the Panthers with six minutes to play in the first period, reacting quickest to knock in a rebound. Hendrikson scored a crucial second for the Panthers just two minutes into the second period, blasting a shot through a crowd of defenders that left Endicott goalkeeper Michaela O’Brien unsighted. Quinlan then scored her second tally of the game on a power play deep into the second period before completing her hat trick on another power play with thirteen minutes to play in the third.
Speaking on the win, Quinlan was effusive in her praise of both her teammates and the Middlebury home crowd, which tallied a whopping 1,426 in attendance.
“It was really a full team effort this weekend, with everyone stepping up,” Quinlan said. “We also thrived off of the energy from the Middlebury community in the stands. It was truly an unbelievable experience to be able to win a playoff game on home ice in front of them.”
Despite the upcoming spring break, Quinlan and her team will hope for a similar turnout to cheer them on this weekend as they face a tough Elmira side who are currently on a 16-game unbeaten run.
The Panthers and the Elmira Soaring Eagles have a notable history with each other; the teams have faced off four times in the national tournament since the turn of the century, with each school claiming two victories. They have also squared off eight times in the previously annual Panther-Cardinal classic, with the schools each winning three and tying twice, and battled earlier this season, with Middlebury emerging the 2–1 victors.
Charles Crounse '24 (he/him) is the senior sports editor for the Campus. He has previously worked as a writer and staff editor for the section. Charles is pursuing a major in environmental policy and a minor in French, and in his free time he enjoys biking, hiking, and exploring Vermont. He is also a member of the club soccer team on campus.