Field hockey falls to Midd. in NESCAC quarters

Field hockey (7-8, 4-6 in NESCAC) concluded its season last weekend with two losses to Middlebury. The Panthers eliminated the Ephs from the NESCAC tournament with a 3-0 win in the quarterfinals on Saturday.

Sarah Eades ’13
Defender Sarah Eades ’13 had an assist in the Ephs’ regular season finale, a 6-3 loss to the Panthers last Wednesday. Photo by Fiona Dang.

The women ended their regular season with a 6-3 loss to Middlebury last Wednesday.

Middlebury applied pressure immediately in the NESCAC quarterfinal on Saturday, earning six corners in the first half. Eleven minutes into the first, Middlebury midfielder Lucy Jackson inserted the ball off a corner to forward Lauren Greer. Greer blasted a shot from just inside the circle and into the cage, making the score 1-0 in Middlebury’s favor.

Middlebury earned a corner with less than three minutes remaining in the first. Greer received the ball again and slammed home her second goal, bringing Middlebury’s lead to 2-0 heading into the half.

The Panthers took 13 shots in the first half, while the Ephs did not manage to create a shot. Goalkeeper Ariana Spiliotes ’14 made six saves in the opening half.

The women came out of the break with improved offensive pressure, as they earned four penalty corners and  took five shots in the second half. Late in the second half, co-captain Meera Sivalingam ’12 ripped a shot from the top of the circle off a corner insert from Cary Hairfield ’15, but her shot went wide.

Less than 10 minutes into the second, Jackson inserted the ball to the top of the circle where Panther Catherine Fowler blasted a shot into the cage, to put the Panthers up 3-0.

“Our second half was a much better effort than the first,” Head Coach Alix Barrale ’93 said. “However, we weren’t able to capitalize on our offensive opportunities. It was a disappointing end to a good season.”

The season-ending defeat came on the heels of the women’s regular season loss to Middlebury 6-3. One minute into the game, Jackson inserted the ball off a corner to Greer at the top of the circle, who rocketed a shot past Spiliotes to put Middlebury on top 1-0.

Greer scored again at 12:08 to make the score 2-0 in the Panthers’ favor. Middlebury increased its lead to 3-0 with another goal just over eight minutes later.

Williams applied strong offensive pressure late in the half. With just under 10 minutes remaining in the half, defender Sarah Eades ’13 earned a free hit just outside the circle on the right side of the field. She carried the ball and made a strong crossing pass to  Emily Pavlini ’14, waiting on the post. Pavlini then directed the ball into the left corner of the goal to put the Ephs on the board, making the score 3-1.

In the 31st minute, an insert from Hairfield to the top of the circle was broken up by the Middlebury defense. However, co-captain Margie Fulton ’12 gained control of the ball in front of the goal and forced it past Panther keeper Becca Shaw to narrow the Panthers’ advantage to 3-2 going into the half.

In the second period, both teams struggled to gain consistent possession. With under 20 minutes to play, Fowler found teammate Alyssa DiMaio in front of the goal off of a corner to make the score 4-2 in favor of the Panthers. Just two minutes later, Fowler scored off a penalty corner, making the score 5-2.

The Ephs continued their offensive pressure, earning their only corner of the half with less than 10 minutes to play. Hairfield inserted the ball to Sivalingam at the top of the circle who took a shot on goal. Helena Nannes ’12 tipped the ball past the goalkeeper to the left post, where Hairfield was waiting to guide the ball into the cage, bringing the score to 5-3.

Middlebury scored again off a penalty corner as time expired, taking the victory with a final score of 6-3.

“We were pleased with [Wednesday’s] offensive efforts,” Barrale said. “While we obviously did not want to give up six goals, we proved that we can captalize on our offensive opportunities, as the team made good on three of six shot attempts.”

The women’s loss to Middlebury on Saturday eliminated them from the NESCAC tournament. The Ephs will graduate four seniors this year and 18 women will return. Sivalingam, Fulton, Nannes and Katie Ellis ’12 played their final game for the Ephs on Saturday. “The seniors will be sorely missed. They set the tone by working hard and persevering even when things didn’t go our way,” Barrale said. “As a result, we have a strong foundation for success going into next season.”