MIDDLEBURY, Vt. -- Scarlett Kirk notched a hat trick as Middlebury advanced to the NCAA quarterfinals for the second time in school history (’97) with a 5-1 win against Misericordia in a sectional matchup. Middlebury (16-1-3) set a school record with 16 wins and will play the winner of the Johns Hopkins/Williams game in the quarterfinals at 1:30 p.m. Sunday. The Cougars saw their 13-game unbeaten streak come to an end, finishing the season with a 19-3-2 mark.
The victory extends Middlebury’s unbeaten streak to 19 games, dating back to a one-goal loss in the team’s season opener on Sept. 7. The Panthers also avenge a 1-0 loss to Misericordia in the NCAA regional finals in Middlebury a year ago, where Middlebury outshot the Cougars 23-5.
Middlebury put on some pressure early with Scarlett Kirk getting good looks in the 28th and 29th minutes, with the first shot going high and the second saved by Cougar keeper Maureen Ciccosanti.
Kirk broke through as 38:46, one-touching a pass in the box from Hannah Robinson for the 1-0 lead.
Molly Parizeau netted the first of her career with 2:04 left in the first half, heading in a corner kick after service from Ali Omsberg. The Panthers entered the intermission with a 12-2 shots advantage and a 2-0 lead.
Middlebury took control of the game early in the second half with a pair of goals in the first 4:55. Robinson played a through ball to Jamie Soroka, who gathered the ball on the left side near the goal line. Soroka fed a low cross to Kirk for the quick redirect from five yards out.
Kirk earned her hat trick just 4:20 later on a great passing play for the Panthers. Robinson played a ball to Julia Favorito, who one-touched it to Kirk for another quick redirect for her NESCAC-leading 15th of the season. The goal was the 46th of Kirk’s career in 71 games played, second all-time at Middlebury.
The lead increased to 5-0 at the 58:32 mark when Sarah Noble headed in a corner kick off the foot of Carter Talgo.
Misericordia got on the board with a goal on a corner kick 71:16 into the contest. Megan Mahoney sent a low bouncing ball into the area that Megan Lannigan sent on goal with a high shot. The shot to the left side looped high and into the net as a Panther defender attempted to clear the ball away.
Middlebury outshot Misericordia 21-5 in the game, as Elizabeth Foody made three saves in goal to earn the win. Ciccosanti ended the contest with seven stops for the Cougars.
Misericordia had surrendered just nine goals all season, including two in a game on only two occasions.