HADLEY, Mass. - Middlebury, the defending NESCAC Champion, is set to host the 2017 NESCAC Women’s Lacrosse Championship, as the semifinals and final will be held at Kohn Field for the seventh time in tournament history. All top four seeds moved on to the semifinals which begin on Saturday, May 6 at noon with the top-seeded Panthers battling fourth-seeded Colby. Second-seeded Hamilton and third-seeded Trinity will take to the field at 2:30 p.m. for a spot in the championship game on Sunday, May 7 at 1 p.m. All three games will be webcasted by the Northeast Sports Network (NSN) at nsnsports.net/conferences/NESCAC.
Top-seeded Middlebury (13-3, 8-2 NESCAC) held off a late rally by Amherst to defeat the Mammoths, 8-7, in the quarterfinals. The Panthers, who are in the semifinals for the third consecutive season, have won seven of their last eight games. Middlebury owns the top defense in the conference with a 6.86 goals against average. Sophomore goalie Kate Furber (Manchester, Mass.) ranks among the league leaders in goals against average (7.03) and save percentage (.528). She has seen the majority of time in net, making 13 starts and has 11 victories. On the other side of the ball, senior Mary O’Connell (Norwell, Mass.) and sophomore Emma McDonagh (Reading, Mass.) have combined for 101 points for the Panthers. O’Connell leads the team in points (55) and assists (33), while McDonagh has netted a team-best 34 goals and has 46 points. Middlebury has won eight titles in its history, including a stretch of seven straight from 2001-07.
Middlebury will have to get past No. 4 Colby (13-3, 8-2 NESCAC) to advance to its 11th championship game in program history. The Mules used an overtime goal by Madeleine Hatch (Wilbraham, Mass.) to edge fifth-seeded Wesleyan, 8-7, in the quarterfinals. Colby extended its win streak to 11 games and is in the semifinals for the first time since 2014. Senior Lexie Perticone (Darien, Conn.) leads the league in assists (25) and is third in points (56). Junior Sasha Fritts (Darien, Conn.) has a team-high 39 goals, which ranks fourth among the conference leaders. Sophomore Izzy Scribano (Darien, Conn.) has earned 12 starts in net and owns an 8-2 record, along with a 7.04 goals against average and .505 save percentage. Colby, which has the highest scoring offense in the conference at 12.50 goals per game, posted a 9-6 win over the Panthers in Waterville, Maine on April 22 during the regular season. The two teams have faced each other nine times in the tournament, with the Panthers holding a 5-4 advantage in the series. They last met in the 2014 quarterfinals, which resulted in a one-goal win for Colby.
Second-seeded Hamilton (12-4, 8-2 NESCAC) is in the semifinals for the third time in six years. The Continentals advanced out of the quarterfinals with a 12-9 victory over Bowdoin behind four goals from Casey File (Huntington, N.Y.). Hamilton has won six straight games and 11 of its last 12 entering the semifinals. Senior Morgan Fletcher (Wayland, Mass.) leads the Continentals in scoring with 40 points on 25 goals and a team-best 15 helpers. Junior Darby Philbrick (Alexandria, Va.) ranks second on the team in scoring, contributing 30 goals and six assists for 36 points. Sophomore Hannah Burrall (Geneva, N.Y.) is the team’s top netminder. She carries an 8-2 record into the semifinals and owns a 7.24 goals against average, which ranks second in the conference.
The Continentals are looking for their first semifinal victory when they face five-time champion and No. 3 Trinity (13-3, 8-2) on Saturday. Junior Kiley Coffey (West Newbury, Mass.) and senior Karly Simpson (South Hadley, Mass.) scored five goals each as the Bantams dispatched sixth-seeded Tufts, 19-10, in the quarterfinals to advance to the semifinals for the seventh straight year. Senior Clare Lyne (Concord, Mass.) leads Trinity in goals (43), assists (19) and points (62). She also has won a team-high 45 draws this season. Junior Abby McInerney (Cape Elizabeth, Maine) has chipped in 40 points on 29 goals and 11 assists. Junior goalie Zoe Ferguson (Ridgewood, N.J.) leads the NESCAC in wins (13), save percentage (.536) and minutes played (923:25). She also carries a 7.15 goals against average on the season. Trinity dropped a 7-6 decision to Hamilton in Hartford, Connecticut on April 22 in the regular-season matchup. The Bantams own a 2-0 advantage in the postseason series, and last faced the Continentals in the 2013 semifinals.
Results for the NESCAC Women’s Lacrosse Championship will be available at the completion of each day on the NESCAC website.