MIDDLEBURY, Vt. – Plymouth State College’s first appearance in the NCAA Women’s Lacrosse Championship Tournament ended in the first round Thursday when the Panthers were defeated by defending national champion Middlebury College, 24-5.
The Panthers of Middlebury surged to a 12-0 first-half lead before PSC got on the scoreboard. The hosts led 15-4 at the break and scored the first seven goals of the second half before cruising to the victory.
The game was moved to Thursday morning at 10 a.m. after rain, thunder, and lightning forced postponement of Wednesday afternoon’s scheduled start.
Middlebury, 12-1, was led by freshman Char Glessner, the New England Small College Athletic Conference Rookie of the Year, who registered six goals and an assist. Junior Betsy Wheeler contributed five goals and an assist, and freshman Kristin Hanley added four goals and two assists.
Plymouth State received goals from five different players. Senior Faith Wahlen (Hampstead, NH) tallied a goal and an assist, while sophomores Janet Conner (South Freeport, Maine) and Brooke Smith (Columbia, SC), freshman Marushka Eddy (Nantucket, Mass.) and senior Jess Shapiro (Windsor Locks, Conn.) each scored once.
“Our goal was to feel good about how we played, and we do,” said PSC head coach Abby Burbank. “Before the game we didn’t talk about the potential outcome. We just tried to do what we could do and not be intimidated, knowing they’re the defending champion. We had fun and did well for us, which is what we tried to do.”
PSC, which had its nine-game winning streak stopped, concludes the winningest season in school history at 15-4 overall. Middlebury, which was making its seventh consecutive NCAA appearance, winning two of the last three national championships, advances to a Sunday quarterfinal match-up against the winner of the William Smith-Nazareth (NY) encounter.
“Give Middlebury tons of credit,” said Burbank. “They have tremendous speed, size and stick ability, and they are awesome at creating plays.”
The final score doesn’t reflect the solid performance of PSC’s defense and goaltending. Junior keeper Lisa Goldberg (Newton, Mass.) stopped 14 Middlebury shots, several from point-blank range.
“I thought we played well defensively,” added Burbank. “We were marking players and communicating well. They were just too tough for us. But we achieved one of our goals, to get here, and I’m proud of what we did.”