NESCAC Final: No. 2 Middlebury 10, No. 1 Trinity 7

NESCAC Final: No. 2 Middlebury 10, No. 1 Trinity 7

Courtesy Trinity Sports Information

HARTFORD, Conn. – Midfielder Hollis Perticone scored all of her three goals during a big first half for visiting Middlebury College as the Panthers downed the Trinity College Bantams, 10-7, in the NESCAC Women's Lacrosse Championship Final this afternoon on Sheppard Field. Middlebury wins its eighth NESCAC title and its first since 2007, improving to 17-1 with its seventh consecutive victory.  Trinity, seeded No. 1 in the tournament, falls to 15-3 with its first loss in nine games and its first loss to Middlebury in the last 10 meetings between the teams.  Middlebury, seeded No. 2 in the tournament, receives an automatic invitation to the NCAA Division III Championship Tournament, while Trinity should receive an at-large bid to the national tourney when they are announced this evening.  Middlebury had won the first seven NESCAC titles from 2001 to 2007 and Trinity had won the last five from 2011 to 2015.

Perticone and Trinity attacker Kiley Coffey traded goals in the first five minutes, but Middlebury scored the next seven goals to take a commanding 8-1 lead at the break.  Panther midfielder Chrissy Ritter tallied the go-ahead goal with 18:09 on the clock, while attacker Bridget Instrum scored once and assisted on a second goal, and Perticone scored twice more during the 7-0 Middlebury run.  Trinity managed just three shots after the 25-minute mark of the first half.  Sophomore attacker Allie Barrett hit the post with 15:59 on the clock, while Georgia Mergner had a free-position shot blocked and Panther senior goalkeeper Katie Mandigo saved a free-position shot by Trinity co-captain midfielder Martha Griffin later in the first half.

Trinity attacker Abby McInerney ended a 26:55 scoring drought for the home team with a goal from attacker Emma Malicki 1:22 into the second stanza, and Barrett scored 2:33 later to pull the Bantams to within five at 8-3 with 26:05 remaining.  Attacker Mary O'Connell scored for Middlebury at the 22:19 mark, but Barrett fed attacker Clare Lyne on one Bantam goal and Griffin scored another to make the score, 9-5, with 12:01 left to play.  Neither team scored for over five minutes before Instrum gave Middlebury a 10-5 lead with a goal at the 6:50 mark.  Griffin converted beat Mandigo on a free-position shot with 4:58 remaining, the only goal scored on six free-positions shots in the game against Mandigo, and Trinity midfielder Karly Simpson assisted Lyne on another tally 4:08 left.  Both defenses caused two turnovers over the final four minutes, but Trinity could not get off another shot and Middlebury was content to pass the ball around and run out the clock.

Instrum and O'Connell joined Perticone as three-point scorers for Middlebury with two goals and one assist apiece, while attacker Megan Griffin added one goal and one assist for the Panther offense.  Mandigo finished with four saves to improve to 9-1 this spring.  Martha Griffin and Lyne scored twice for the Bantams and Simpson notched two assists, while Griffin also scooped a game-high four ground balls and Lyne added a game-high five draw controls.  Lara Guida led all defenders with three caused turnovers and added two ground balls, while Zoe Ferguson and Emily Mooney combined for four stops in the Bantam goal.