Skidmore silences Middlebury to earn spot in national semifinals
MIDDLEBURY, Vt. -- In a wild and exciting quarterfinal, Skidmore held off a late charge by Middlebury to advance to the national semifinals with a 3-2 road win on Kohn Field.
Skidmore (19-3) will meet Salisbury in the NCAA semifinals at 2:00 p.m. Friday in Virginia Beach, Va., while Bowdoin will take on Christopher Newport in the other national semifinal. Middlebury finishes its season with a 16-3, seeing a nine-game winning streak come to an end.
This will be the team's third semifinal appearance, the most recent coming in 2010.
Middlebury took a 1-0 lead early with a goal on a penalty corner at 1:58. Some great passing saw a reverse seep pass from Catherine Fowler to Bridget Instrum, who scored her 16th of the season. After a big save by Thoroughbred goalie Haley McDougall, Skidmore answered at the 4:50 mark shortly after a penalty corner play. Kelly Blackhurst sent a waist-level shot that went wide to the middle and was knocked out of the air and into the back of the cage by Melanie Webb.
Skidmore took a 2-1 lead at the 16:59 mark with a penalty corner tally from Jenn Hanks. Krista Lamoreaux inserted the ball to Hanks at the top of the circle, allowing her to blast a shot that put her team on top.
Middlebury threatened to tie the game several times throughout the remainder of the half, but McDougall (seven saves) kept the Panthers off the board. The Panther's best chance to score came in the final minute with heavy pressure, as Anna Kenyon's shot from the stroke line was denied by a blocker save.
Middlebury earned three penalty corners in the first 15 minutes of the second half, but was unable to tie the game. Skidmore increased its lead at the 57:13 mark, with another tally on a penalty corner. This time Lamoreaux fed Blackhurst in the middle, who earned her team-record 32nd of the season.
Needing a pair of goals to tie the game, the Panthers sent netminder Emily Knapp (two saves) to the bench in favor of an extra attacker with 6:03 left to play. Middlebury turned up the pressure, while also having to dodge a penalty corner attempt by Skidmore.
The Panthers made it a one-goal game with just 34 seconds remaining with a penalty corner tally from Kenyon. Fowler made a quick feed on the left side to Kenyon, who made it a 3-2 game with her third of the season.
Middlebury took the ball right down the field after the restart, earning a penalty corner as time expired. The Panthers nearly tied the game after a flurry and scramble in the crease, but the whistle was blown, awarding the team a second penalty corner. Skidmore's defense stood strong again and denied the final to secure the win.
The Thoroughbred defense responded well to the after time pressure.
"It was definitely a lot of pressure," Skidmore captain and defender Annie Weis said. "We've had a lot of time-out corners this season and I knew everyone would get back."
It will be the second trip to the semifinals for the Skidmore seniors, who went as freshmen.
"We thought Middlebury was going to be confident after beating us 4-0 earlier this year, but we were flying after [Saturday's] win," Weis said.
Skidmore beat Keene 11-1 on Saturday to advance to the quarterfinals.
Middlebury held a 13-7 shots advantage in the game, with each team taking eight penalty corners.