Middlebury field hockey team wins two, remains undefeated

MIDDLEBURY — The Middlebury College field hockey team remained undefeated by topping two top-10 opponents this past weekend, both on the Panthers’ home turf.

The 7-0 Panthers are the top-ranked team in NCAA Division III and will visit Colby on Saturday.

On Sunday, Sept. 23, the Panthers topped No. 5 Babson, 2-1, dropping the Beavers to 7-2. Babson struck first on an Ashley Tango goal 8:39 into the game, an 8-yard bullet inside the left post after she worked into open space in the Panther circle.

Middlebury knotted the score about four minutes later. Danielle Brown moved to the left side of the Beaver goal, spun around and fired a shot into the left side of the cage.

The Panthers best chance to take the lead in the first half came on a penalty corner with about 10 minutes left, but Babson goalie Cassidy Riley (six saves) kicked away Julia Richards’s shot from the right side. 

About 10 minutes into the second half, Middlebury’s Emma Johns bid on another penalty corner hit Riley in her helmet and bounced away. Babson’s best chance came with just under 16 minutes left in the contest, but Panther goalie Megan Collins (two saves) kicked aside Babson Millie Brady’s shot from eight yards away as Brady cut in from the right side.

The Panthers had two great second-half chances with Erin Nicholas and Grace Jennings breaking in two-on-one, but they couldn’t connect on the last pass. Nicholas finally netted the game-winner on an individual effort from Nicholas with 4:30 to go. She gathered a loose ball at midfield stripe and dribbled through several defenders before lifting a shot from just inside the penalty spot over the Riley’s right shoulder.

Middlebury earned advantages of 18-6 advantage in shots and 14-2 in penalty corners.

On Saturday the Panthers topped previously undefeated, eighth-ranked Bowdoin, 4-2, in a NESCAC contest.

The Panthers opened the scoring 7:50 into the game on a penalty corner, Kelly Coyle sent a pass to Brown, who slipped a shot through the legs of Bowdoin goalie Maddie Ferrucci. Middlebury made it 2-0 just 3:03 later on another Nicholas solo effort: She beat three defenders on before finding the back of the cage.

Bowdoin made it 2-1 with 4:05 done in the second half, when Abby Bashaw converted on a penalty corner.

Jennings scored twice in a span of 4:28 to put the Panthers in charge. Jennings swiped in her first goal at 24:44 and netted her second by outrunning the Bowdoin defense up the left side before flicking a shot inside the far post for her team-leading seventh goal.

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