2017-11-14 / Sports

Middlebury knocks out UNE in second round of NCAA playoffs

FROM STAFF REPORTS

MIDDLEBURY, Vt. — A four-goal flurry in the last seven minutes of the 1st half vaulted No.2 Middlebury College past No.19 University of New England, 5-0, in the second round of the 2017 NCAA Division III Field Hockey Championship on Saturday at Kohn Field.

The Panthers (17-2) move on to face No.14 University of Rochester (a 2-1 winner over Husson) in the national quarterfinals on Sunday. Interactive Bracket

The nationally-ranked Nor’easters conclude 2017 with an 18-5 overall mark.

UNE had the first two shot attempts in the contest, but Middlebury’s initial try found its way through in the 9th minute off the stick of Grace Jennings. Then things started to click for the hosts down the stretch into halftime, as Julia Richards (28:12), Erin Nicholas (31:20), Annie Leonard (32:21), and Lauren Schweppe (34:44) all registered goals for the Panthers. Middlebury had an 11-3 edge in shots during the frame, although penalty corners were just 6-5.

Each side only managed one shot in the 2nd period, when UNE posted a 6-1 advantage in corners.

Abby Furdak stopped the only attempt that reached her to preserve the shutout for the Panthers. Her counterpart on UNE, Liz Sargent, also totaled one save.

The result put a cap on the winningest senior class in UNE program history (72-23). The group of career scoring-leader Vonde Saunders, Olivia Madore, Hannah Buckley, Brenna Sicard, Becky Zakorchemny, Alex Staples, Liz Clark, and Kyla Bartnicki exit with a 45-3 record in Commonwealth Coast Conference (CCC) action, equaling four regular-season crowns and setting things up for just as many postseason championships. They also saw the program through its first four NCAA tournament victories.

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