March 23, 2010

Midd Kids: Panthers Upend No. 2 Gettysburg

from press release

Sophomore goalkeeper Lily Nguyen absorbs one of her 12 saves during 10th-ranked Middlebury's 10-8 upset Tuesday of second-ranked Gettysburg.

© Kevin P. Tucker

GETTYSBURG, Pa. – Gettysburg College went on a four-goal run to pull to 10-8 in its top-10 battle with Middlebury College Tuesday evening at Clark Field, but the Bullets came up empty on their final three shot attempts in the final minute and the Panthers held on for the upset victory.

Gettysburg (7-1), ranked second in the latest Intercollegiate Women's Lacrosse Coaches Association (IWLCA) Division III Poll, and 10th-ranked Middlebury (2-1) turned in another classic head-to-head battle, following in the footsteps of a pair of regular-season overtime decisions in both 2007 and 2008.

Tuesday's game ended as a thriller, but the Panthers managed to control most of the action early with an efficient effort on the offensive end. After senior Jessica Crane (Sudbury, Mass./Lincoln-Sudbury) broke the egg with the opening goal at 25:39, Middlebury scored on 10 of its next 15 shot attempts, taking a 10-4 advantage on a hook-up by Dana Heritage and Chase Delano with 18:11 remaining in the contest.

Senior Hollis Stahl (Hightstown, N.J./Peddie School) began Gettysburg's comeback with a free-position score at 16:27. Middlebury attempted to stall during the remaining time, but the Bullets kept after the ball and forced the Panthers into turnovers, which in turn developed into scores. Seniors Lexie Hearn (Old Greenwich, Conn./Greenwich) and Nina Emala (Baltimore, Md./Bryn Mawr School) put in two more free-position goals to pull the Bullets to 10-7 with 4:43 left.

Gettysburg goalie Kristen Krammer (Woodbine, Md./Glenelg) tried to help on the defensive end by double-teaming the ball around the goal, but Delano took advantage of the unmanned net and bounced the ball into the cage, appearing to give Middlebury a four-goal advantage. The score was wiped away, however, when her stick was found to be illegal before the next draw. The Bullets took advantage as sophomore Hannah Church (Ellicott City, Md./Mount de Sales) scored on a free position shot to pull to 10-8 with 2:09 to play.

The hosts won the next draw, but turned the ball over before taking a shot. Middlebury was unable to clear the ball up the field as Stahl forced a turnover, picked up the ground ball, and dished off the pass to Emala in front of the goal circle. Emala's shot was stopped cold by Lily Nguyen and the ball skidded away with around 40 seconds left.

Gettysburg corralled the loose ball and took two more stabs at the goal. Junior Marnie Commins (Fairfax Station, Va./Robinson) missed wide on a free position attempt and Stahl was thwarted yet again by Nguyen. The Panthers managed to gain control and avoided any miscues over the remaining 20 seconds.

On paper, Gettysburg had the advantage in shots (29-18) and ground balls (14-13) and forced Middlebury into 17 turnovers, eight of which came on clear attempts (14-22).

What stopped the Bullets was a big day from Nguyen in goal. The Panthers' sophomore keeper stonewalled a dozen shot attempts, including eight in the second half alone. Delano provided the bulk of the offense with four goals and one assist, while Heritage lit the lamp three times. Neile Weeks was a force on the defensive side of the field for Middlebury with five ground balls and three caused turnovers.

Stahl led Gettysburg with three goals and four caused turnovers, and tied for the team lead with three ground balls. Emala added three assists to her goal and Hearn tallied two goals and two caused turnovers. Krammer made five saves in the loss.

Gettysburg will try to get back on track this Saturday, March 27, when it hosts Swarthmore College (3-1, 0-1 CC). Game time is set for 1 p.m.

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