Panthers fall to defending national champs in first round
MIDDLEBURY, Vt. – The Middlebury women's lacrosse team had little trouble with Plymouth State University Saturday as the eighth-ranked Panthers (14-4) picked up a 13-1 victory in an NCAA first-round contest on Kohn Field.
The home team advances to Sunday's second round, where they will meet third-ranked Colby (15-3) at 1:00 p.m. Plymouth State ends its season with a record of 11-4.
Middlebury took a 2-0 lead with a pair of goals from Mary O'Connell 31 seconds apart in the first 1:35 of the game. Bea Eppler cut to the goal and scored with a shot to the upper corner of the net to make it 3-0, before O'Connell found a cutting Hollis Perticone at the 24:17 mark for a 4-0 lead.
Kate Zecca and Emma McDonagh converted free-position shots, before Sara DiCenso gave her team a 7-0 advantage after a dish from Perticone at the 14:52 mark. O'Connell netted her third of the half with a shot to the top left corner of the net with 4:57 remaining, before DiCenso closed the half with a free-position tally with 23 ticks on the clock.
Plymouth State had a good look in the final seconds of the half, but a big save from Panther goalkeeper Kate Furber on Kimmie Zuccaro (Townsend, Mass.) kept it a 9-0 game.
DiCenso picked up where she left off in the first half, scoring the first goal of the second session just 58 seconds in after a nice feed from O'Connell. Eppler scored the final three Panther goals, two of them assisted by Kate Zecca.
Eppler scored four goals, while O'Connell netted three with two assists to lead Middlebury in scoring. DiCenso finished with three tallies, while Zecca had a goal and two assists. Alex White earned three ground balls and caused two turnovers on the afternoon. Furber made four first-half saves to earn the win, while Alex Freedman and Julia Keith split second-half duties.
Zuccaro earned a team-high three draws for Plymouth, Meg Lunetta (Plymouth, Mass.) scooped up a pair of ground balls, while Vonachen had a goal and a caused turnover. Meg Brault (South Windsor, Conn.) made 14 saves between the pipes for the Panthers.
Middlebury held a 36-7 shots advantage, led 17-7 in ground balls and forced 22 Plymouth State turnovers.
(Photos Courtesy of Will Costello; Recap Courtesy of Middlebury Athletic Communications)
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