|Kelly Hyland was one of three Jumbos to finish with three goals
MIDDLEBURY, VT - The Tufts women's lacrosse team will play in the semi-finals of the NESCAC Championship for just the second time since the event started in 2001 after earning a 13-12 win over Middlebury in a NESCAC Quarterfinal game played on Kohn Field Sunday.
The fifth-seeded Jumbos (11-5) advance to next weekend's semifinals at Trinity, where they will battle the host school. The 2011 squad joins 2009 as the Jumbo teams to reach the conference semis. The fourth-seeded Panthers fall to 10-5 on the year and will await a potential NCAA at-large berth. This was the second one-goal game between the schools this season, with Middlebury picking up a 10-9 road win on April 23.
Tufts held a 3-1 lead early, before Middlebury's Sally Ryan assisted on goals to Margaret Souther and Lucy Jackson to tie the game at 3-3 at the 23:40 mark. Casey Egan (Massapequa, NY) scored twice for the Jumbos, with a tally from Panther Stephanie Gill in between, leaving Tufts with a 5-4 lead with 10:15 left in the first half.
Ryan scored on a bounce-shot for the Panthers, while Stephanie Perez (East Providence, RI) scored on a quick-stick pass from Lara Kozin (Suffern, NY) to put the Jumbos back on top at 6-5. Ryan scored her third of the half at 5:28, and then quickly fed Souther for a tally with 1:18 remaining to give Middlebury its first lead of the game at 7-6.
Egan opened the second half with her third of the game for Tufts to knot the score at 7-7. Elizabeth Garry converted a free position to put the Panthers back on top at 8-7, before the Jumbos answered with three straight. Kozin earned her second and third assists of the game during the spurt, feeding Kelly Hyland (Acton, MA) and Kerry Eaton (Norfolk, MA). A goal from Gabby Horner (Allentown, NJ) cutting to the goal gave the Jumbos a 10-8 lead with 17:45 remaining, prompting a Middlebury timeout.
The Panthers answered with a pair from Chase Delano and Stephanie Gill to tie the game for the seventh time. Tufts followed with a three-goal run, extending its lead to 13-10 with just 3:29 remaining. Horner scored twice during the run, with Kozin finding the net as well.
Middlebury battled back late, with Ryan driving through defenders to cut the lead to 13-11 at the 2:37 mark. Tufts won the ensuing draw control and turned the ball over, with the Panthers later scoring on a goal from Stephanie Gill driving to the goal, leaving them with a one-goal deficit with only 29 seconds left to play.
Meg Boland (New Canaan, CT) came up big for Tufts on the draw control, scooping up the ball as the Jumbos were able to hold on for the win.
Hyland, Egan and Horner each scored three times for Tufts, followed by a pair from Eaton and three helpers by Kozin. Sterling Champion (Lighthouse Point, FL) earned a game-high four draw controls, while goalkeeper Sara Bloom (Summit, NJ) made 10 saves with five ground balls.
Ryan paced the Panthers with four goals and three assists in the game, followed by Gill with three goals and Souther with a pair. Gill and Souther each had three draw controls, while Lucy Jackson picked up three ground balls. Lily Nguyen finished the game with six saves.
Game release courtesy of Middlebury College