Jeffs Edged by Middlebury in NESCAC Semifinals, 1-0

nescac09From a Williams College release

WILLIAMSTOWN, MA — Middlebury senior defender Jenny Galgano used every bit of her 5-foot, 8-inch frame to get up and head in a corner kick from teammate Margaret Owen early in the second half Saturday, leading third-seeded Middlebury to a 1-0 upset of second-seeded Amherst in the semifinals of the NESCAC Tournament. With the loss, Amherst falls to 12-3-1 but remains in good position for an at-large bid to the upcoming NCAA Tournament.
Middlebury improved to 12-2-2 on the season, and will face top-seeded Williams (16-0-0) in the championship match Sunday at noon on the Ephs’ own Cole Field. The Panthers advance to the final for the first time since 2006, when they defeated Amherst, 1-0, for their second NESCAC title. Williams has won the last two NESCAC championships.
Saturday’s semifinal was a physical battle, with 31 total fouls called. On the day, Amherst out shot Middlebury, 18-11, and had a 3-2 advantage in corner kick chances.

With the game still scoreless in the game’s 50th minute, Middlebury was awarded a corner kick. Owen served a high-arching, well-placed ball into the box, and Galgano, who moved up for the re-start, leaped high into the air, flicking the ball into the left side of the net from about eight yards out. It was Galgano’s first goal of the season, and it came with 40:24 remaining in the contest.
Middlebury’s defense was strong for a full 90 minutes, but Amherst did have a wonderful opportunity to tie the match with 31:30 left. Speedy first-year Hannah Cooper (Bethesda, MD) ran onto a loose ball on the left flank made a cut back and lashed a hard shot that caromed off the crossbar.
Panther goalkeeper Lauryn Torch later made an exceptional play off a direct kick by Amherst sophomore Jill Kochanek’s (Pittsburgh, PA) direct kick from 30 yards out, punching the ball back up the field and out of harms way. Torch finished with seven saves in the game while Amherst keeper Allie Horwitz (Woodbridge, CT) made four stops.
The first half was extremely well contested. Both teams came up with scoring opportunities, but the half was more marked by its physical play, blocked shots and 50-50 balls.
In the game’s 28th minute, Amherst’s Meg Murphy (Springfield, MA) booted a well-struck ball into the box. Off the ensuing scramble, teammate Jackie Hirsch (Wilmette, IL) fired off a shot that was blocked. Kyla Woodhouse (Topsham, ME) collected the rebound, but her follow-up shot was wide.
Late in the half, just 6:05 remained, the Panthers nearly got on the board when junior forward Annie Rowell chipped a great ball from 12 yards out over the head of Horwitz and just over the crossbar.
Amherst will await the release of the NCAA Tournament field tomorrow night, with a bracket to be release on Monday morning. Check back on the Amherst Athletics website for breaking info.