Field Hockey Falls to Middlebury, 3-2 (ot)
Contact: Ben Badua
Photo Courtesy of Will Costello
MIDDLEBURY, Vt. - Krista Zsitvay ’14 tied the game with a penalty stroke in the waning moments of regulation, but Middlebury’s Lauren Greer ’13 buried the game winner just 2:34 into overtime to lift the top-ranked Middlebury field hockey team to a 3-2 victory over No. 12 Amherst in a NESCAC semifinal game on Kohn Field.
Falling to 11-5 (6-4 NESCAC) on the season, the Jeffs will hope to receive an at-large bid to the NCAA Championship when the 24-team field is announced on Sunday, Nov. 4 at 2 p.m. Also falling to Middlebury, 2-1 (ot), in last season’s conference semifinal and 1-0 in the second round of the 2011 NCAA Championship, Amherst dropped to just 2-7 against its NESCAC rival dating back to 2007. Four of the Jeffs’ five losses this season have come in overtime to ranked opponents.
Earning a penalty corner in the 18th minute, Alyssa DiMaio ’15 played a pass to Greer on the left side. Looking to goal, the forward ripped a hard shot inside the far post to stake the home team to an early lead.
Still trailing to start the second half, Amherst finally got on the board when Madaline Tank ’15 corralled a rebound off of a Katie Paolano ’16 shot, sneaking her 12th of the year past senior goalkeeper Madeline Brooks at 39:15.
Winning another penalty corner in the 56th minute, DiMaio once again played Greer, whose initial shot was turned away by a big defensive save from Annie Turnbull ’16. Picking the ball out of the air near the left post, Katherine Theiss ’14 backhanded the go-ahead marker into the cage at 55:13.
With time winding down in regulation, Amherst won a penalty stroke following a scrum in front. The Panthers brought in Emily Knapp ’15 off the bench, but Zsitvay calmly slotted the stroke past the substitute keeper to pull the Jeffs even with just 2:37 remaining in regulation.
Awarded a penalty corner early in the extra session, Charlotte Gardiner ’13 inserted a pass to Greer near the top of the circle. Slipping a Jeff defender, the senior carried the ball towards goal before tucking a shot into the far corner of the cage to punch Middlebury’s ticket to a second-consecutive NESCAC final.
Amherst held a slim 12-11 advantage in shots, with both teams earning 10 penalty corners. Rachel Tannenbaum ’15 and Brooks each finished with five saves.
Should the Jeffs fail to receive a bid to the NCAA Tournament, today’s game marks the last for an outstanding senior class. As a group, Nomi Conway ’13, Mary Katherine McNeill ’13, Sarah Wise ’13 and Katie McMahon ’13 have combined for a 50-18 record, becoming the winningest class during head coach Carol Knerr’s 12-year tenure. One of the most decorated players in program history, McMahon will graduate as the program’s all-time leader in points (150), goals (56) and assists (38).