November 15, 2009

Wheaton's season ends in NCAAs at Middlebury, Lyons suffer narrow 2-1 setback

MIDDLEBURY, VT- The Wheaton College women's soccer team's season came to an end on Sunday in the second round of the NCAA Tournament, as the Lyons dropped a narrow 2-1 decision to Middlebury College. Inclement weather forced the contest to be moved from the grass of Dragone Field to one of Middlebury's turf surfaces.

The Lyons finished the fall at 18-4-2 while making an appearance in their 10th straight NCAA Tournament, while the Panthers improved to 14-3-2 during their fifth NCAA Tournament and advance to next weekend's sectional round.

Senior Rosie Levy (Torrance, CA/Chadwick School) scored in her final collegiate game for Wheaton, knotting the score in the 32nd minute, while sophomore Lindsay Leddy (Warwick, RI/Wheeler School) made two saves. The Lyons held edges of 8-6 in shots and 3-1 in corner kicks, including 4-2 and 2-0, respectively, during the second half.

Seniors Paola Cabonargi (Staten Island, NY/Tottenville) and Lindsay Walker (Ridgewood, NJ/Ridgewood) tallied for the Panthers, who are ranked 12th nationally by the National Soccer Coaches Association of America (NSCAA), while junior Lauryn Torch (Bronxville, NY/Bronxville) had three stops.

In a contest between a pair of squads that earned at-large bids into the NCAA Tournament, Wheaton fell for the first time in four all-time meetings with the Panthers. A little more than four minutes into the second half of a 1-1 game, Middlebury junior Kirsten Lundquist (Boxford, MA/Masconomet Regional) fired a shot from the right side of the box that Leddy went high to deny, batting the ball toward the left and a rushing Cabonargi, who headed home the eventual winner at 49:35.

Wheaton pushed to knot the contest soon thereafter, but junior Emily Hough's (Norwich, VT/Hanover) shot off a corner kick was blocked a few yards from the goal by a defender standing in front of Torch. Neither team had another good opportunity until nearly nine minutes remained in regulation. Lyon senior Lyndsey McManus' (Marshfield, MA/Marshfield) initial hit off of a free kick was blocked by the wall, but she one-timed the rebound toward the lower right corner, where Torch made a diving save to preserve the lead.

Middlebury scored a little more than 15 minutes into the game on the first sustained scoring chance for either team. After Walker took the first shot of the contest, which was deflected wide by a Lyon defender and gave the hosts a corner kick, junior Drew Smith (Silver Spring, MD/Maret) sent her corner cross through the goal mouth and toward the left end line. Panther senior Margaret Owen (Bozeman, MT/Bozeman) caught up with the ball, lifting a cross toward the center of the box, where Walker headed home the go-ahead marker at 15:20.

The Lyons tied the game toward the later stages of the opening half, with Levy tallying at 31:23. After sophomore Emily Vincunas (Granville, MA/Wilbraham & Monson Academy) worked to keep the ball in on the sideline and carried up the left side of the field, her centering cross found freshman Cassey Muse (Candia, NH/Central), who touched the ball off to a rushing Levy. From there, the midfielder buried a shot into the right side of the net beyond Torch.

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