NESCAC Quarterfinal: No. 1 Middlebury 14, No. 8 Hamilton 5

NESCAC Quarterfinal: No. 1 Middlebury 14, No. 8 Hamilton 5

Courtesty of Middlebury Sports Information

MIDDLEBURY, Vt. - The Middlebury women's lacrosse team never trailed in its NESCAC Quarterfinal contest on Saturday, as the top-seeded Panthers dispatched of eighth-seeded Hamilton 14-5. Middlebury (14-2) will host next weekend's semifinals, taking on sixth-seeded Trinity Saturday at 12:00 p.m. Second-seeded Amherst and fourth-seeded Bowdoin will meet in the other semifinal at 2:30 p.m. The winners will battle on Sunday at 1:00 p.m. in the NESCAC Championship game.

Middlebury opened the scoring just over two minutes into the contest, netting a pair of goals in 13 seconds. Kirsten Murphy made it 1-0 with 2:07 expired on a nice effort circling the cage, while Hollis Perticone bounced in a free-position attempt seconds later. After Emily Barnard made it 3-0, the Continentals (5-11) countered with back-to-back scores from Honor Gabriel and Darby Philbrick, making it a 3-2 contest with 19:44 on the clock, but that was as close as Hamilton would get the rest of the way.

The Panthers closed out the first half, netting the final four goals for a 7-2 lead at the break. Erin Nicholas started the run with a tally on a free-position shot, while Murphy scored twice before setting up Jenna McNicholas for a goal.

The hosts struck twice early in the second half, adding two more tallies in the initial 27 seconds of play. Murphy set up Georgia Carroll for a quick-stick marker with 18 seconds expired and nine seconds later Carroll scored again in similar fashion, but on a feed from Emma McDonagh. Carroll added her third goal of the period three minutes later, and a goal by Barnard with 22:53 on the clock extended the margin to 11-2.

Hamilton closed the gap to 11-5 with three-straight goals, as Nicole Lyons set up Jackie Cuddy and Skyler Simson in order before Philbrick tallied on a free-position The Panthers finished strong with three more scores, with Carroll accounting for two of them and Barnard the other.

Carroll finished with a career-high five goals for the Panthers, while Murphy scored three times and assisted on four others. Barnard added a hat trick and McNicholas had a goal and two helpers. Perticone collected nine draw controls, raising her season total to a NESCAC-leading 101. Addy Mitchell had a balanced game defensively with four caused turnovers and five ground balls, while Evie Keating had three caused turnovers and three ground balls. Julia Keith earned the win in goal for Middlebury with four saves in the first half, while Kate Furber had three stops in the final 30 minutes of play.

Philbrick led the Continentals with two goals, while Hannah Burrall made 16 saves in goal and boasted a team-high six ground balls. Gabby O'Brien chipped in with three caused turnovers and Cuddy had three draw controls.

Middlebury more than doubled Hamilton in shots (39-18) and had a 33-24 advantage in ground balls