Women's Lax Edged by Middlebury in NESCAC Quarterfinal Action
Issue   |   Tue, 04/28/2015 - 23:51
Megan Robertson '15
Rachel Passarelli ’16 contributed a team leading 55 points this season.

In the first round of NESCAC playoffs seventh-seeded Amherst lost to second-seeded Middlebury 9-8 in Vermont on Saturday. The winning goal for the Panthers came at the end of a four-goal streak that culminated in an unassisted finish 22 minutes into the second half. “Despite the loss, our game on Saturday was one of our best performances of the season,” coach Christine Paradis said.

The Jeffs started the game strong. Just under five minutes into the game Middlebury started the scoring. Their 1-0 lead, however, was short-lived, as Amherst proceeded to charge ahead, scoring four of the next five goals. Rachel Passarelli ’16 started the scoring with an unassisted goal less than two minutes later. Sarah Spector ’15 scored off a pass from Mia Haughton ’16 at 20:12 to give Amherst the 2-1 lead. The Panthers responded with a goal of their own to tie it up, but Amherst struck back with back-to-back goals from Haughton, who was unassisted, and Claire Cagnassola ’17, whose goal came off a Passarelli pass.

With just over five minutes remaining in the first half, the Panthers answered back with three goals of their own to end the half. Three different Middlebury players found the back of the net to welcome halftime leading the Jeffs 5-4.

Halftime gave the Jeffs a chance to regroup, and they came out of the locker room firing. Three minutes into the half Spector put away her second goal of the game before senior tri-captain Priscilla Tyler gave Amherst a 6-5 lead off a pass from Haughton. With 22 minutes remaining, Cagnassola found her second goal of the day off a feed from Passarelli. The junior followed up her assist with a second goal of her own to give Amherst an 8-5 lead with just over 19 to go.

Passarelli’s goal marked the last of the day for the Jeffs, and the Panthers would then proceed on a four-goal streak over 12 minutes that would end in their 9-8 victory. In the last minutes of the game, Julia Crerend ’18 and Spector each had an effort blocked by the Panther’s defense while Passarelli had two shots fly just wide of goal. Haughton gave the Jeffs their last chance of the day but, with just six seconds on the clock, her shot barely missed target. “It is tough to win at Middlebury, and we put ourselves in the best possible position to do this and fell short as they took charge of the draw and possession in the last 10 minutes,” Paradis said. “We had many curve balls thrown at us this season with injuries, but as a result many players gained valuable game experience and this bodes well for the future.”

Cagassola had three draw controls while senior tri-captain had two. Passarelli had two goals and two assists to her name, while Christy Forrest ’16 posted seven saves.