Courtesy Middlebury Athletic Communications
MIDDLEBURY, Vt. – Middlebury's Scarlett Kirk scored twice to lead the Panthers to a 2-0 win over Colby (7-7-2) in a NESCAC Quarterfinal contest on Dragone Field.
The Panthers (11-3-1) advance to next weekend's semifinal round at Amherst, where they will meet Williams at 1:30. The host school takes on Wesleyan in the other semifinal contest at 11:00 a.m., with the winners meeting on Sunday at noon for the NESCAC Championship.
Middlebury took a 1-0 lead 21:32 into the game when Julia Favorito made a touch pass to Kirk after Sarah Noble had settled the ball in the midfield. Kirk beat a defender and then ripped a hard shot into the top right corner for the tally.
The Panthers threatened on a corner kick in the 35th minute, but Colby Gibbs' shot after the feed from Lucy Wagner was deflected away. A free kick followed by Noble 10 minutes later, but Kirk's header was saved by Colby keeper Emily Brook (six saves).
Trailing 1-0 in the second half, the Mules came back with an early chance. Middlebury keeper Elizabeth Foody (2 saves), who came on in relief of Jocelyn Remmert, was in a footrace with Colby's Nikki Pickering to the ball in the 49th minute. Foody slid in to break up the play, as the ball squirted loose and was eventually cleared away by the Middlebury defense.
Kirk appeared to have her second of the game on a corner kick header in the 58th minute, but Colby's Grace Dickinson saved a goal with a header of her own.
Brook kept her team in the game with a stop on a chance from Kirk to Hannah Newman in the 65th minute and with some help from Emily Moos, who cleared away an apparent goal from Kirk in the 78th minute.
Kirk finally put the game away with just 4:08 remaining, scoring her team-leading 13th of the season. Gibbs played a nice ball over the Mule defense to Kirk, who won a footrace to the ball before scoring from inside the 18 on the left side.