NCAA Second Round: Middlebury 8, Keene State 0

NCAA Second Round: Middlebury 8, Keene State 0

Courtesy of Middlebury Sports Information

MIDDLEBURY, Vt. - Middlebury scored four goals in each half, en route to an 8-0 triumph over Keene State in the second round of the NCAA Tournament. The Panthers (18-1) advance to Sunday's regional final, where they will face either The College of New Jersey or Vassar at 1:00 p.m. on Kohn Field. The Owls cap their season with a record of 18-7.

Middlebury got off to a fast start, opening the scoring 6:58 into the contest. Erin Nicholas carried the ball into the arc from the right side and swept a shot past Keene State goalie Rachel Loseby for a 1-0 Panther lead. The hosts doubled the advantage with 21:26 showing on the clock, as Grace Jennings placed her stick flat on the turf to redirect a pass from Nicholas into the cage.

The lead grew to 3-0 near the midway point when Emma Johns fired in her eighth goal of the season from the right side on a play that started on a penalty corner. Nicholas tallied from the right side with 9:40 left before the half.

Middlebury added to the lead in the second stanza, scoring with 7:06 expired. Nicholas directed the ball on goal with a shot from the right side that Alison Denby knocked into the cage for a 5-0 cushion.

The visitors had their best chance to get onto the scoreboard minutes later with a penalty corner, but Erica Stauffer's shot from the right side was kicked aside by Panther goalie Megan Collins.

Middlebury increased its lead to six, when Jennings drove to the net from the left wing and slid a shot past Loseby from close range. Julia Richards upped the advantage with a redirection of a shot from Kelly Coyle with just under 10 minutes remaining, while Amanda Bozorgi closed out the scoring with a flip shot over Loseby's outstretched arms on a penalty corner with 6:31 left.

Collins earned her seventh shutout of the season for the Panthers with one save, while Loseby made 11 stops for the Owls.

Middlebury held a 31-2 advantage in shots and took seven of the game's eight penalty corners.