Women's lacrosse stuns No. 2 Middlebury, defeats Panthers 11-10 in overtime

Sophomore Summer Dias scored the game-winning goal and the Bates women's lacrosse team upset No. 2 nationally ranked Middlebury 11-10 in overtime on Saturday, March 2, 2019. (File photo by Theophil Syslo/Bates College)

MIDDLEBURY, Vt. -- Sophomore Summer Dias scored the game-winning goal in overtime and the Bates women's lacrosse team rallied from four goals down to stun No. 2 nationally ranked Middlebury, defeating the Panthers 11-10 Saturday morning in NESCAC action. 

"It's obviously a great win against a highly respected and talented team," Bates head coach Brett Allen said. "But it's too early to tell what it means for us; every week is like its own season so we have to be ready to go again this week." 

The Bobcats (3-0, 1-0 NESCAC) scored six of the final seven goals in the win over the Panthers (0-1, 0-1 NESCAC), last year's NESCAC champion and national runner-up. Dias (West Newton, Mass.) scored three of those six goals, including the game-winner. 

Middlebury won the opening draw control of overtime. But sophomore transfer Caitie Clark (Rumson, N.J.) caused a turnover and Bates successfully cleared the ball. Dias took care of the rest, scoring her third goal of the game and ninth of the season to clinch the win.

The Bobcats found themselves trailing 9-5 with 16:57 remaining in regulation after Middlebury's Casey O'Neill scored a free position goal. 

But senior Katie Allard (Ridgewood, N.J.) answered for the Bobcats, scoring on an assist from senior Sydney Howard (Ashland, Mass.) to cut the deficit to three with 14:35 remaining. Allard paced the Bobcats with four goals and two assists on the day.

Dias scored her first goal of the day just over four minutes later to make the score 9-7 in favor of the Panthers. Middlebury answered, with Emily Barnard scoring her game-high fifth goal of the game on an assist from Emma McDonagh to extend the Panther lead to 10-7 with 6:02 remaining.

Still down by three with less than three minutes left, Bates got a free position opportunity and Allard scored again to trim the deficit to two goals. The Panthers won the ensuing draw control only to see senior captain Eliza Statile (Ipswich, Mass.) make a huge save in goal for Bates. Junior Caroline Kerrigan (Falls Church, Va.) picked up the ensuing ground ball and Bates successfully cleared it, setting up Dias for another goal, cutting the Panther lead to 10-9 with 1:52 left in regulation.

With 55 seconds remaining, Statile made another massive save for the Bobcats and picked up the ground ball herself. The Bobcats cleared it and called timeout with just 29 ticks on the clock. Out of the timeout, junior Avery MacMullen (New Haven, Conn.) picked the perfect time to score her first goal of the season, tallying the equalizer with just 10 seconds to go in regulation. 

Statile stood on her head in goal for Bates, tallying a career-high 20 saves. The Panthers fired 37 shots to the Bobcats' 27 and won the draw control battle 19-4. But Bates caused 22 turnovers and recorded 28 ground balls to the Panthers' 24. 

Bates had to rally in the first half as well. Middlebury jumped out to a 3-0 lead, thanks in part to two of Barnard's five goals. Sophomore Lila Hutchins (Westfield, N.J.) got the Bobcats on the board by tallying a free position goal with 23:43 left in the first half.

Allard scored her first goal of the contest a few minutes later before Kate Zecca added to the Panther lead with 19:10 to go in the half. Then Bates ripped off three straight goals to take a 5-4 lead. Sophomore Margaret Smith (Wilton, Conn.) scored on an assist from Allard and then she assisted Allard for the equalizer with 13:51 remaining. Allard found sophomore transfer Kathryn Grennon (Cape Elizabeth, Maine) with 11:16 left in the half to put the Bobcats up 5-4.

The Panthers scored the final two goals of the first half and the first three goals of the second half before the Bobcats rallied for their first win over Middlebury since 2010. The last time the Bobcats defeated a team ranked as high as No. 2 in the national polls was when they defeated then No. 2 nationally ranked Trinity 6-3 in 2014.

"Our team showed great resilience coming back from a three-goal deficit in the first half to even out the game and then again bouncing back in the second half after getting down by four," Allen said. "I am really proud of them!"

The Bobcats are back in action on Wednesday when they visit Babson for a game that gets underway at 5pm.