EWING, N.J. - Williams College opened a five-goal lead with 20 minutes left and held off defending champion Middlebury for an 11-9 victory yesterday in an NCAA Division III semifinal.
The No. 4 Ephs, who have never won a national title, will return to Lions Stadium for the final at noon today against the host team, No. 1 College of New Jersey. The two have met only once before, in the 1998 championship won by the Lions, 12-11, in overtime.
Yesterday, Williams (14-1) got back-to-back goals from Cara Shortsleeve and Heather Black to boost its lead to 11-6 before the No.2 Panthers (13-2) rallied with three straight. Katherine Rodormer, Char Glessner and Betsy Wheeler closed the Ephs' edge to 11-9 with 5:37 to go.
Williams goalie Abigail Jackson, who finished with 10 saves, made two stops in the final minute and a half. Laura Richmond came up with two interceptions in the last five minutes.
Down 1-0, the Ephs took the lead for good on four straight goals, capped by Robin Severud's shovel shot 12 minutes into the game. The victory avenged the Ephs' only regular-season loss.
Goals: W-Severud 3, Shortsleeve 3, Cleary, Ritchie, Thomas-Daigneault, Doherty, Black; M-Wheeler 2, Rodormer 2, Martin, Perine, Chapin, Hanley, Glessner. Assists: W-Shortsleeve 3, Black 2, Cleary; M-Martin, Chapin, Rodormer. Saves: W-Jackson 10; M-Robertson 5.