Nov. 15, 2009

Courtesy Middlebury Athletics

Middlebury has earned a spot in an NCAA Sectional after picking up a 2-1 win over Wheaton in an NCAA second-round contest in Vermont. The game was moved from Middlebury’s grass surface (Dragone Field) to its field turf field after heavy downpours throughout the day yesterday. The Panthers advance to next weekend’s NCAA Sectionals, where they will take on Johns Hopkins, with the site and gametimes to be determined. Wheaton ends its season with an 18-4-2 mark.

Neutral play early on led to no shot opportunities for either team. Middlebury’s first shot came when Lindsay Walker’s blast sailed high over the goal, but resulted in a corner kick after it was slightly deflected by a Wheaton defender. Drew Smith took the corner that sailed through the box to Margaret Owen on the left side, where Owen chipped a low hard shot back into the box. Lindsay Walker was there, finishing with a header at 15:20 to give the Panthers a 1-0 lead.

Wheaton came back to tie the game at 31:23, as Rosie Levy earned her fourth tally of the season with an assist going to Cassey Muse. Emily Vincunas fed the ball up the left side to Muse, who quickly touched a ball ahead to Levy. After two quick touches, Levy chipped a shot over the head of Middlebury keeper Lauryn Torch, who had come out to cut off the angle.

Leading 1-0 in the second half, Middlebury regained the lead just 4:35 into the second session. Kirsten Lundquist gained some space on the right wing at the 18 with some individual work, before launching at shot at the Wheaton net. Wheaton keeper Lindsay Leddy was able to deflect the shot up into the air, where Middlebury’s Paola Cabonargi struck a firm header into the back of the net for the 2-1 lead.

Wheaton had a pair of quality scoring chances later in the game, as Emily Hough’s shot was cleared away from the Panther goal by Katie Ruymann. The Lions’ best opportunity came in the 81st minute on a free kick from 30 yards away. Lyndsey McManus’ original blast hit the wall, rebounding back to her feet. She quickly touched the ball before launching a rocket at the right side of the goal. Torch made a diving save to her left and was able to deflect the ball out of harm’s way.

Middlebury held on in the final eight minutes and earned a spot in the NCAA Sectionals for the third time in six years. Torch ended the game with three saves to earn the win, while Leddy made a pair of stops for Wheaton. The Lions held an 8-6 advantage in shots and led by a 3-1 margin in corner kicks.