Wheaton (Mass.) 2, Middlebury 1



Wheaton Sophomore Jordan Pouliot (Manchester, NH) banged a shot in from the top of the box in the 88th minute of play to lift her squad to a 2-1 victory against Middlebury in the NCAA sectional semifinals at Oneonta State College this afternoon. Wheaton (22-0-2) and Middlebury (15-1-3) entered today's contest as two of the three remaining unbeaten schools in Div. III soccer. The Lyons, along with Messiah College, are now the only two unbeatens left as Wheaton advances into the sectional final tomorrow against Oneonta State beginning at 1:00 p.m.

The game-winning goal came when Pouliot collected a loose ball at the top of the box after a Middlebury defender tried to clear the ball. She wasted no time in launching a shot that beat the Panthers' keeper in the upper right corner of the goal.

"We're a young group that expects to be back here next year," said Middlebury coach Peter Kim. "We're disappointed, but in a few days we'll be able to think positively about the experience and move forward."

The first half was back and forth with a total of 17 shots between the two teams. Wheaton had a slim 9-8 advantage in shots, but the score was deadlocked at 1-1 at the break. The higher seeded Lyons broke into the scoring column first in 27th minute of play. Wheaton was awarded a corner kick that was taken by Erin Davis (Easton, CT). She flighted a ball that found its way across the goal where it laid loose. Senior Beth Caromile (Warwick, RI) collected the loose ball and fired a shot that went past the Middlebury keeper and deflected off of a defender and into the goal.

The Panthers tied the game just over four minutes later on a misplay by the Wheaton keeper. A ball was sent in from the midfield area that the Wheaton keeper charged out to cradle. She was not able to control the ball and it squirted loose away from her to the waiting foot Caity Abshere (Madison, WI) who blasted a shot into the open goal from 10-yards out.

The goal allowed by Wheaton snapped a shutout streak that had reached 11 games entering this afternoon's contest. The goal also stopped Wheaton keeper, Stacey Kronenberg's (Belchertown, MA) scoreless minutes of play at 983 after entering the game at 953.

Middlebury nearly took a one-goal lead into halftime when Kim Walker (Ridgewood, NJ) hit the crossbar with a shot from 20 yards out in the 41st minute.

The winner of tomorrow's game between Oneonta State and Wheaton will advance to the national final four scheduled for Friday and Saturday, Nov. 26 & 27 in Greensboro, N.C.

-- Courtesy Oneonta State