North Kingstown alumna Katie George added yet another championship t-shirt and hat set to her collection Sunday afternoon as she played a pivotal role in Middlebury’s 2-0 win over Tufts in the NESCAC field hockey title decider.
The former Skipper had a hand in both Panther goals, scoring off a penalty corner with 1:04 left in the first half for her 13th of the fall before earning credit for the assist on Audrey Lazar’s insurance marker early in the final term to finish off the Jumbos.
During Middlebury’s run to a conference-record fifth consecutive crown, George’s prowess in front of the cage was on full display as she had two-goal games against Hamilton in the quarterfinals and Williams in the semifinals.
In the earlier meeting with the Continentals, the junior forward bookended Middlebury’s 5-1 triumph by knocking home the team’s first and last goals of the contest, earning NESCAC player of the week honors in the process.
George was unrelenting in the Panthers’ semifinal tilt with Williams, taking a game-high seven shots and beating goaltender Carson Stephenson in the second and fourth quarters to supply half of the offense in a 4-0 decision over the Ephs.
When the NCAA unveiled the bracket for the Division III field hockey tournament later on Sunday, Middlebury received a first-round bye for the 11th straight season and will take on the winner of Wednesday’s game between MIT and SUNY-Cortland.
Should the 17-1 Panthers come out on top in their second round contest on Saturday, a possibility for revenge looms on the horizon in the regional final, as the other side of the draw includes a Trinity team that handed Middlebury its only defeat thus far.
In their Oct. 15 clash, the Bantams brought down the curtain on the Panthers’ 42-game winning streak dating back to 2019 as Janis Demarest potted home the decisive goal with just under seven minutes left to claim a 2-1 victory.
Heading into NCAA tournament play, George has reached double figures in goals for the third season in a row, equaling the 13 that she racked up in her freshman campaign while also dishing out a career-high six assists to double her previous single-season best.
Toland helps Southern Maine to title
Bridgette Toland was a part of history this past weekend as the North Kingstown product came off the bench in Southern Maine’s 3-1 overtime win over Western Connecticut in the Little East women’s soccer championship match.
It was the first conference title in program history for the 17-3 Huskies, who went up for good 5:41 into the first extra session as Gaby Panagakos beat Wolves goalkeeper Kasey Donnelly for her seventh goal of the campaign.
Toland entered the game in the 68th minute in place of Julia McKenna and had a shot blocked by a WestConn defender during her time on the pitch, which came to an end with McKenna’s return to the fray ten minutes later.
The Southern Maine eleven found out the identity of their first round NCAA tournament opponent on Monday, and they will play in Saturday’s first round against a Williams squad that earned one of the 19 available at-large berths in the field of 64 teams.
Going into the meeting with the Ephs, Toland has made 19 substitute appearances this fall for the Huskies while taking 13 shots, the highest total on the team among players yet to score a goal on the campaign.