North Kingstown native Katie George’s freshman campaign at Middlebury College culminated in the best way possible on Nov. 24, as the Panthers claimed their third straight Division III field hockey national championship with a hard-fought 1-0 win over Franklin & Marshall.
The Diplomats proved to be a worthy challenger to the holders, but were rebuffed by Marissa Baker’s deflected effort 8:43 into the final quarter which beat Christina Seery and found the back of the cage for the lone score of the afternoon.
In achieving the three-peat, Middlebury joins Salisbury in becoming just the second program in Division III to have won three national titles in a row, the Sea Gulls doing so from 2003-05.
George’s contribution to the Panther cause came the previous day, as Middlebury took on the aforementioned Salisbury squad in the national semifinals, which was decided by the same 1-0 result as the championship decider.
The St. George’s alumna slammed home the only marker of the game in the third quarter, receiving Erin Nicholas’ pass with her back to the goal before turning around and firing the ball past the Sea Gull goaltender for her team-best 13th goal of the fall.
It was the second consecutive NCAA tournament game in which she got onto the score sheet, after previously notching the opening goal just 41 seconds into the regional final versus Kean on Nov. 17 to punch the Panthers’ ticket to the final four.
George proved to be one of Middlebury’s most solid contributors throughout the tournament run, with her being named to the all-tournament team alongside three of her teammates, which was the latest in a string of postseason awards for the forward.
She was named the New England Small College Athletic Conference’s rookie of the year earlier in the month, earning the nod alongside second-team all-conference honors after a campaign that saw her tie for the team lead with 29 points.
Slade, Stonehill net first tourney win
The 2019 season has come to an end for the Stonehill women’s soccer team, but not before Prout graduate Emma Slade helped the Skyhawks to a historic victory in the Division II NCAA tournament.
Stonehill won a tournament match for the first time in program history on Nov. 22, coming from a goal down to defeat Jefferson 2-1 in Albany, New York, doing so after failing to advance past the first round in each of its previous two appearances.
Jefferson’s MaryKate Ulmer drew first blood in the 20th minute, but the Rams’ lead only lasted just under three minutes, with Slade receiving Camryn Thompson’s pass on the fringe of the penalty area and firing her shot past Erin Tinneny to level the score.
The decisive marker came in the 42nd courtesy of Kayla Henry, who was the beneficiary of a ball played in by Tess Erwin which sat up for her to beat Tinneny to put the Skyhawks ahead for good.
Stonehill’s run concluded two days later at the hands of regional top seed and fellow Northeast-10 member Saint Rose, with the Golden Knights riding Nina Predanic’s 11th minute tally to a 1-0 decision and a berth in the next round.
Slade draws the curtain down on her first year as a Skyhawk after having appeared in 17 of the team’s 21 matches, earning a spot on the Northeast-10 all-rookie team with a five-goal campaign that saw her net the winner against Dominican on Sept. 8.