MIDDLEBURY, Vt. — Kate Kogut made 27 saves to lead Middlebury to a 2-1 win over Plattsburgh in the semifinals of the NCAA Division III Women’s Championship. The Panthers will face Wisconsin-Stevens Point, a 4-1 winner over Manhattanville, in the national title game on Saturday at 7:00 p.m. Plattsburgh will meet Manhattanville in the third-place game at 3:30 p.m.
Plattsburgh had a nice chance to score just 2:00 minutes into the game, but Elizabeth Gibson’s shot was snared with a glove save by Middlebury’s Kogut. Middlebury had two great chances to score during the 12:00 mark on the power play, but Carolyn Roy made point-blank saves on Abby Kurtz-Phelan and Shannon Sylvester.
Middlebury took a 1-0 lead 8:04 into the second period when Abby Kurtz-Phelan backhanded a shot into the net from the slot after a feed from Lorna Gifis. The assist was the 100th point of Gifis’ career.
Plattsburgh continued to battle for the equalizer in the third period, but Kogut was very impressive, including a huge stop on Jenn Clarke at the 8:30 mark.
The Panthers took a 2-0 lead at 10:38 when Emily McNamara found a breaking Gifis who converted the breakaway with a fake left before sliding it into the right side of the net.
The Cardinals cut the lead in half at 15:13 as Clarke picked up a loose puck and snapped a shot under the arm of Kogut that fell into the net after a partial save.
The Cardinals kept up the pressure in the final five minutes, but Kogut was impressive as she turned away 27 of 28 shots on the night.
“Plattsburgh outplayed us in the third and much of the game, but Kate Kogut was the difference, as she has been for the last several games. She’s in a zone,” said Middlebury coach Bill Mandigo.
“I’ve waited three years to get to this point,” said Gifis, “I can’t wait to play for a championship, we’re all very excited.”
Plattsburgh coach Kevin Houle said, “It was a great game, we played unbelievably well, for two periods we carried the play. It was a typical Middlebury-Plattsburgh game, but I thought we deserved to win.”
This was the third one-goal game between the schools this season, with Middlebury picking up a pair of 3-2 wins during the regular season.