Middlebury to Host NESCAC Women's Lacrosse Championship

NESCAC Women's Lacrosse Championship Preview
HADLEY, Mass. – Defending NESCAC Champion, Middlebury will host the remaining rounds of the 2019 NESCAC Women’s Lacrosse Championship. The top four seeds advanced out of the quarterfinals for the second time in three years. The top-seeded Panthers will face No. 4 Amherst in the first semifinal at 12 p.m., while No. 2 Tufts takes on No. 3 Wesleyan at 3 p.m. on Saturday, May 4. The winners will square off in the NESCAC Championship game on Sunday, May 5 at 1 p.m.
All three games will be streamed online via the Northeast Sports Network (NSN), links can be found at NESCAC.com. The broadcasts will also be available through Roku, AppleTV, and Amazon Fire. Search for and download the ‘NESCAC Network’ channel.
The top-seeded Panthers are hosting the final rounds of the NESCAC Championship for the third straight year and 11th time overall. Middlebury extended its win streak to 15 games and avenged its only loss of the season with a decisive 15-2 victory over No. 8 Bates in the quarterfinals. The Panthers are in the semifinals for the fifth consecutive season and are looking to make their 12th appearance in the championship game and win their 10th NESCAC title. Middlebury is scoring 13.94 goals per game and owns the top goals against average in the league at 6.80 behind the dual effort of junior Julia Keith (North Andover, Mass.) (6.29 GAA – 1st in the NESCAC) and senior Kate Furber (Manchester, Mass.) (7.67 GAA). Keith has been credited with 13 of the Panthers’ 15 wins this season, while Furber has made 13 appearances in the Middlebury net. Senior Emma McDonagh (Reading, Mass.), who scored five goals in the win over Bates, leads the Middlebury attack with 58 points on 44 goals and 14 assists.
Amherst advanced to the semifinals for the second year in a row with a 12-9 win over No. 5 Bowdoin. The Mammoths are seeking their first trip to the championship game since 2014 and first NESCAC title. Amherst, which has won six of its last seven games, is led by sophomore Claire Dunbar’s (Lutherville, Md.) 63 points and league-leading 29 assists to go with 34 goals. Amherst ranks third in the conference in save percentage at .504 as junior Talia Land (Larchmont, N.Y.) has played every game in net and carries an 8.56 goals against average.
The Panthers are unbeaten at 9-0 against Amherst in the NESCAC postseason series. Middlebury earned an 8-7 victory against the Mammoths when the teams last met in the 2017 quarterfinals. During the regular season, Middlebury posted an 11-9 victory over Amherst on March 30.
Tufts, the No. 2 seed, advanced to the semifinals for the first time since 2015 with a 12-5 win over No. 7 Trinity. The Jumbos outscored the Bantams 6-1 in the second half to earn their fourth NESCAC Tournament win in program history. The Jumbos lead the NESCAC in scoring with 259 goals and junior Emily Games’ (Wayne, Pa.) 58 points (44-14-58) paces the attack. First-year Molly Laliberty (Newburyport, Mass.) owns the top save percentage in the conference at .558, having allowed a league-low 42 goals in 12 appearances. Senior Audrey Evers (San Francisco, Calif.) has 10 wins for the Jumbos in net and a goals against average of 8.65 to go with a .520 save percentage. Tufts started the season with a 13-0 record before suffering its lone setback at the hands of Middlebury, 10-9, on April 20. 
Wesleyan earned the program’s first NESCAC Tournament victory and extended its win streak to six games with a 14-12 win over No. 6 Colby in the quarterfinals. The Cardinals have set program records for most wins the past three seasons and the No. 3 seed is the highest in program history. Wesleyan owns the second-best goals against average in the conference at 7.68 and is averaging 13.63 goals per game. Junior Abby Manning (Wilmington, Del.) set a single-season program record with 55 goals, which leads the NESCAC. She is tied for the league-lead in points with 61. Sophomore Sydney Prokupek (Denver, Colo.) ranks fourth in the NESCAC in assists with 23 and has contributed 41 points. Junior goalie Allegra Grant (Winnetka, Ill.), an All-American for the Cardinals’ women’s ice hockey team, ranks third in the league in goals-against average (7.64) and owns a .484 save percentage.
The semifinal matchup marks the first meeting between Tufts and Wesleyan in the NESCAC Championship. The Jumbos posted a 17-10 win over the Cardinals on April 6 this year.
Results from all the NESCAC Women’s Lacrosse Championship games will be posted on NESCAC.com at the end of each day.