CHESTER, P.A. – Three different players scored four goals to lead the nationally fifth-ranked Middlebury women's lacrosse team to a 16-11 victory versus top-ranked Cortland Saturday afternoon in the NCAA Div. III Semifinals at Talen Energy Stadium in Chester, Pa. With the setback, the Red Dragons had a 40-game winning streak snapped and finished the season at 21-1. The Panthers improved to 21-1 and will face either Trinity or Franklin & Marshall in the title game Sunday at 3:30 p.m.
For Cortland, senior Tara Monaghan (Stony Point/North Rockland) scored a team-high four goals to tie the program single-season record of 80 first set by Danielle Torre in the 2009 season. Monaghan also won three draw controls and collected two ground balls. Senior Ashley Gentile (Baldwinsville/C.W. Baker) netted two goals, secured 11 draws and caused two turnovers, while junior Kristen Ohberg (Brewster) also scored twice.
Sophomore Hannah Elmer (Syracuse/West Genesee) tallied one goal and two assists, seniors Nicole Bello (Camillus/West Genesee) and Elizabeth LaComb (Syracuse/West Genesee) each netted a goal and junior Makenzie Annable (Navarino/Onondaga) recorded an assist.
Junior goalie Jaclyn Beshlian (Wantagh) tied her career high with 14 saves for the Red Dragons, stopping seven shots in each half. Bello caused two turnovers and collected two ground balls
Junior Mary O'Connell (Norwell, MA) paced the Middlebury offense with six points on four goals and two assists. Seniors Laurel Pascal (Greenwich, CT/Taft) and Bridget Instrum (Granby, MA/Williston Northampton) scored four goals apiece, senior Alli Sciarretta (Wilton, CT/Convent of the Sacred Heart) recorded two goals and two assists, senior Chrissy Ritter (Middlebury, VT/Middlebury Union) had one goal and one assist and senior Megan Griffin (Sudbury, MA/Lincoln-Sudbury) tallied one goal.
Senior goalie Katie Mandingo (Cornwall, VT/Loomis Chaffee) registered a career-high 14 saves and scooped up five ground balls for the Panthers. Freshman Alex White (Dover, MA/Dover-Sherborn) also collected five ground balls, Pascal won four draws and Ritter and sophomore Evie Keating (Hanover, NH) each caused three turnovers.
Gentile opened the scoring just 23 seconds into the game after Cortland won the opening draw control. The Panthers then strung together four straight goals, one each from Instrum and Ritter and two by Pascal, in less than a five-minute span to take a 4-1 lead at 22:54. After a Red Dragon timeout, Cortland rallied to tie the game at 4-4. Monaghan started the run off an assist from Elmer at 21:50. Gentile's second tally of the game at 14:17 made it a 4-3 score before Elmer knotted the game off Annable's assist at 12:28.
After the Red Dragons successfully defended being down Monaghan for two minutes for a yellow card, the Panthers went ahead 6-4 on back-to-back unassisted goals from Ingstrum at 7:58 and 3:39, respectively. Gentile won the ensuing draw, which led to Elmer assisting Monaghan's second goal of the game at 3:03 and Cortland trailed 6-5. With under two minutes remaining in the half, Cortland had possession but turned the ball over. After a high shot for the Panthers, Middlebury had possession with four seconds remaining. Sciarretta made a move at the top of the eight-meter line and had the ball checked out of her stick. She regained control and scored with just .2 seconds left in the half for a 7-5 Middlebury advantage.
The Panthers started pulling away with three goals in the first 5:08 of the second half to open up a 10-5 lead, prompting a Cortland timeout. Pascal notched her third of the contest at 27:52, and O'Connell and Griffin followed with unassisted scores at 26:54 and 24:52. Ten seconds out of the stoppage, Monaghan netted her third of tha game to make it a 10-6 score.
Middlebury stretched its lead to 14-7 at the 17:38 mark by scoring four of the next five goals. O'Connell scored twice and Sciarretta recorded one goal and two assists for Middlebury. The Red Dragons pulled to within 14-9 on LaComb's goal at 13:51 and Monaghan's tally at the 13:18 mark. The tally for Monaghan was the 80th of the season, tying the school record. Middlebury answered with goals from Pascal and O'Connell just 15 seconds apart to increase its lead to 16-9. Ohberg cut into the lead with her first goal of the game at 7:37, but Cortland could only add one more goal from Ohberg with 57 seconds remaining for the final of 16-11.