MIDDLEBURY, VT. – Despite a 19-1 loss to No. 6-ranked Middlebury May 9, Norwich University head coach Elizabeth Van Parys was left thinking of overall accomplishments en route to a 14-2 record.
"(The senior class) helped put Norwich women's lacrosse on the map," Van Parys said. "Due to their efforts, we had three straight Great Northeast Athletic Conference titles, three consecutive national tournament bids and a 42-20 record.
"It's always tough to go out like this," she added. "We had some opportunities to cut into their early lead, but our shots weren't connecting, and our passes were off."
The host Panthers, advancing to the second round of NCAA play, opened a 4-0 lead less than four minutes in but had to thwart some solid Maroon and Gold opportunities in the process. On NU's ensuing possession after Middlebury scored its first goal, senior midfielder Mollie Fitzpatrick (Falmouth, Maine) fired a rocket shot at the Panther cage, but it was stopped. Sophomore midfielder Grace Fitzpatrick (Falmouth, Maine) had a breakaway off a draw control victory minutes later but couldn't crash through the Middlebury defense.
The home side continued to pressure Norwich's defense and built the lead to 11-0 late in the opening half. Just before halftime, senior midfielder Kacey Abbriano (Hicksville, N.Y.) broke up Middlebury's shutout attempt with a goal from the left side. The Cadets had more good chances in the second half but couldn't add to their total.
Grace Fitzpatrick rattled off five of Norwich's 10 shot attempts, while her sister, Mollie, ended with three. Senior goalkeeper Meghan Kennedy (Lowell, Mass.) kept the Maroon and Gold as close as was possible in the wake of a 32-10 Middlebury shots advantage with seven saves. NU picked up just one less ground ball than their hosts with 19, as Abbriano finished with four.
GAME NOTES – Abbriano's 62nd goal of the season broke a tie with Grace Fitzpatrick for the team goal lead. It was the 208th of her illustrious career. … Other final season statistical leads for the Cadets went to Abbriano – assists (18), points (80), shots (136), shots on goal (115), ground balls (85) and caused turnovers (37) and Grace Fitzpatrick – draw controls (66 won).