Late Kusiak Goal Gives No. 1 Trinity Women’s Lacrosse Win over No. 3 Middlebury
Both Teams Were 10-0 Heading into Game
Hartford, Conn. – Junior attacker Shea Kusiak (Longmeadow, Mass.) scored with 1:54 left in the game to break a 9-9 tie and lead the Trinity College Bantams to a 10-9 victory over the visiting Middlebury College Panthers in New England Small College Athletic Conference (NESCAC) women's lacrosse action this afternoon on Robin Sheppard Field. Reigning NCAA Division III Champion Trinity, ranked No. 1 in the nation, breaks the College's consecutive win record with its 19th victory in a row, while improving to 11-0 overall and 7-0 in the NESCAC. Middlebury, ranked No. 3 in the country, is 10-1 overall and 7-1 in the league.
Trinity got off to a fast start, as senior attacker Hadley Duncan (Rye, N.Y.) scored two goals within the first five minutes. Middlebury senior Emma Kramer (Riverside, Conn.) answered with a goal before Trinity senior Kaitlin Hildebrand (Berwyn, Pa.) netted two more to put Trinity up 4-1. Trinity built up a 7-3 lead in the first half, but junior Liza Herzog (Baltimore, Md.) scored with 2:11 left in the period to cut the Trinity lead to 7-4 heading into intermission.
Trinity opened the second half with a goal and Middlebury responded, before Trinity earned it right back to go up 9-5 on a score by sophomore Molly Cox (Norwell, Mass.) with 17:28 left. Middlebury senior Alice Pfeifer (Chevy Chase, Md.) responded with back-to-back goals to cut the Trinity lead to 9-7 with 8:15 left. Kramer then followed up with two goals of her own, the second of which came on a wide open look at the net to tie game at 9-9.
After a Trinity timeout, rookie Martha Griffin (Exeter, N.H.) rifled a shot to the bottom left corner of the net with less than three minutes on the clock, but Middlebury junior goalie Alyssa Palomba (Shrewsbury, Mass.) made a clutch kick save to keep the game tied. With 1:54 remaining in the game, Hildebrand made a perfect pass to a streaking Kusiak, who caught the ball in front of the net and fired it in the back of the net, which proved to be the game-winning goal for the Bantams.
Hildebrand, Duncan, Coz, and senior tri-captain Meghan Leonhard (Summit, N.J.) scored two goals apiece for Trinity, and Hildebrand also added a pair of assists. Kramer scored three goals and Pfeifer scored two to lead the Panthers. Trinity senior tri-captain Olivia Whitney (Danvers, Mass.) made four saves to earn the win in net, while Palomba finshed with six saves in net for Middlebury.
Trinity has won the last six games against Middlebury, who last beat the Bantams on April 18, 2009. Four of their last five contests have been decided by a single goal. Last year, Trinity topped Middlebury, 11-10, in the NESCAC finals on a goal by Hildebrand with 4.7 seconds on the clock. In 2011, Trinity edged Middlebury, 10-9, in the second round of the NCAA National Tournament.
Today's game was played in support of Lacrosse the Nations, a non-profit that promotes health and education through lacrosse in areas around the globe. Trinity and Middlebury joined forces to raise nearly $2,200 for a Scoop for Loot fundraising campaign, which will entirely benefit the organization.