MIDDLEBURY, Vt. -- The No. 3 in the nation and top seed in the NESCAC tournament Middlebury College women's lacrosse team defeated nationally-ranked No. 23 and No. 8 seed Bates College 15-2 in its NESCAC quarterfinal today at the Panthers' Kohn Field.
The Bobcats made their first appearance in the NESCAC tournament since 2016, and finished the year with an 8-8 overall record. Middlebury improves to 15-1 this season. The Panthers, who are the defending NESCAC tournament champions, advance to the semifinals on Saturday, May 4, at noon.
It was the second meeting this season between Bates and Middlebury. The Bobcats served the Panthers their lone loss this year, back in the NESCAC opener for both teams on March 2, when Bates came out on top 11-10 in overtime.
Today however, the Panthers jumped out to a 10-0 lead in the first half on their way to the victory. Emma McDonagh led Middlebury with five goals. Kirsten Murphy added four goals and an assist. Jane Earley notched a goal and two assists, and Kate Zecca chipped in two goals. Addy Mitchell shared a game-high four ground balls and caused two turnovers. Sarah Weppler won a game-high four draws. Julia Keith played the opening 40:55 in goal for the Panthers and made 10 saves. Kate Furber came in for the final 19:05.
Sophomore Kathryn Grennon (Cape Elizabeth, Maine) and junior Caroline Kerrigan (Falls Church, Va.) each scored for Bates. Senior Eliza Statile (Ipswich, Mass.) played all 60 minutes in goal for the Bobcats. She finished with 13 saves and shared a game-high with four ground balls. Junior Isabelle Paulus (Bath, Maine) picked up three ground balls and had two caused turnovers. Junior Liv Sandford (Kennebunk, Maine) won a team-high three draws.
McDonagh scored twice in the first four minutes to put Middlebury up 2-0. All five of her goals came in the first half. With 23:43 on the clock, Earley fed Murphy to make it 3-0. Just under two minutes later, McDonagh notched her third goal of the day. Neither team scored for the next 16:07. With 5:45 left in the first half, Earley found the back of the net to give the Panthers a 5-0 lead. Thirty-three seconds later, McDonagh scored her fourth of the afternoon. Henley Hall and McDonagh scored a minute apart to make it 8-0 with 2:08 left in the opening half. Madeline Riordan and Murphy scored in the final 1:36 to put Middlebury up 10-0 at halftime.
The Panthers opened the second half with five straight goals. Murphy notched back-to-back goals off assists from Emily Barnard and Jenna McNicholas, respectively, to make it 12-0 with 23:10 remaining. Kate Zecca scored twice with a goal by Lily Riseberg in between to give the Panthers their largest lead of the game. With 6:12 left, Kerrigan put the Bobcats on the scoreboard. It was her first goal this season. Grennon followed with her team-leading 23rd goal of the season off an assist from Jillian Futter for the final score.
Middlebury held a 37-15 advantage in shots and a 22-18 edge in ground balls. The Panthers also held a 12-5 advantage in draws. Bates was successful on 16-of-19 clear attempts, while Middlebury finished 19-of-20 clear attempts.