Middlebury tops women's lax in NESCAC quarterfinal

MIDDLEBURY, Vt. -- The Bates women's lacrosse team's season came to a close on Saturday in the quarterfinals of the NESCAC Women's Lacrosse Championship, in a 16-7 setback at Middlebury.

Middlebury (14-1), ranked third in the country, advanced to the NESCAC semifinals and will take on Colby in the NESCAC semifinals on Saturday, May 4th at Trinity, while the host school meets Hamilton in the other match-up. The winners will meet for the NESCAC Championship at noon on Sunday.

Bates, the No. 7 seed, finishes 7-8 in its fifth straight appearance in the postseason tournament.

Middlebury scored six of the game's first seven goals, holding a 6-1 lead with 14:49 remaining in the first half. Emma Kramer scored three goals during the opening run, including a pair just 45 seconds apart. Ellen Halle scored twice, including a nice deke move and spin around goal to make it a 6-1 game.

Bates netted two of the next three goals, with tallies by junior Blair Shrewsbury (Boxford, Mass.) and first-year Emma Noto (Portland, Ore.) to make it a 7-3 game with 5:09 remaining. The Panthers scored twice before the half ended, with Michaela Colbert and Katie Ritter finding the back of the net to make it a 9-3 game at the intermission.

The Bobcats cut the advantage to 10-5 early in the second half, as Shrewsbury scored her second of the game on a rebound at the 21:36 mark. The Panthers responded with six of the next seven goals to put the game away. Halle found Kramer for a nice quick-stick goal at 21:06, while Alice Pfeifer converted a free position with a shot to the top right corner just 43 seconds later.

Bates junior Bridget Meedzan (Ipswich, Mass.) made a great feed to junior Wally Pierce (Weston, Mass.) as Bates made it a 12-6 game before the Panthers went on a four-goal run. Chrissy and Katie Ritter each scored, before Liza Herzog made a long run to made it a 15-6 game with 11:14 remaining. The teams exchanged the final two goals as the Panthers came away with the 16-7 win.

The Middlebury defense was strong all afternoon, causing nine failed clears by Bates, who went 17-26 on the day. Halle and Kramer each scored four goals for the Panthers, with Halle adding a pair of helpers. Ritter and Michaela Colbert each scored twice, while Liza Herzog won four draw controls and Heather Marrison picked up four ground balls. Alyssa Palomba made eight saves in 55:38, while Katie Mandigo made one stop in 4:22 of play.

Shrewsbury and Pierce each scored twice for Bates, while senior captain Linnea Fulton (Bristol, R.I.), playing in her final game, had three draw controls and two ground balls, to go along with a pair of caused turnovers. First-year goalie Hannah Jeffrey (Greenwich, Conn.) finished the day with 11 saves.