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Panther field hockey cruises to three wins

MIDDLEBURY — The Middlebury College field hockey team, ranked No. 4 in NCAA Division III entering the week, used hat tricks in picking up two home victories this past weekend and winning on the road on Tuesday. The Panthers (7-1, 4-1 in NESCAC play) visit No. 16 Tufts on Saturday.
On this past Saturday, Molly Freeman tallied her first career hat trick in the Panthers’ 6-2 win over visiting Colby (5-4, 1-4 NESCAC).
Middlebury scored first at 4:29, when Freeman converted Pam Schulman’s serve into the circle from the right side.
The Mules knotted the score at 1-1 at 15:37 with a tip-in goal by McKayla Blanch from four yards out. Just 2:08 later, Middlebury regained the lead when Freeman scored on a breakaway.
Colby equalized again at 28:07, when Megan Fortier blasted home a shot from 12 yards out.
About a minute later, the Panthers answered. This time, Bridget Instrum tapped home a Schulman serve from the right side. In the 34th minute, Freeman tipped in a centering pass from Anna Kenyon to give the Panthers a 4-2 halftime lead.
Middlebury added to its lead after the break with goals from Susanna Baker and Lauren Schweppe, both the first of their careers.
Panther goalie Emily Miller made two saves, while Sarah Evans finished with eight stops for the Mules. The Panthers held a 20-6 advantage in shots.
On Sunday, the Panthers used another four-goal run and another hat trick, this time from Annie Leonard, to pull away from visiting Rensselaer in a 6-1 victory.
Middlebury scored in the sixth minute on a Schulman penalty stroke, one awarded when RPI goalie Rachel Kaufman (13 saves) pinned a Grace Jennings shot under her pad.
At the 12:34 mark, the hosts went ahead by two when Freeman redirected an Instrum shot.
In the 25th minute, the Engineers’ Jena Nawfel dribbled across the circle and scored from six yards out to make it 2-1.
Freeman started the four-goal run with a tip-in off a pass from Jennings at 42:58. Starting about 11 minutes later, Leonard scored three times in a span of 5:26. She tallied her first when she put back a rebound of her own shot at 53:32. The second came on a penalty corner, with assists from Shannon Hutteman and Anna Kenyon, and the third came at 58:58, when Leonard a redirected a Susanna Baker shot.
Evangeline Dunphy picked up her first career victory for Middlebury with four saves. The Panthers held a advantages of 25-5 in shots and 5-1 in penalty corners.
On Tuesday, the Panthers scored five times in the first 14:37 at St. Lawrence (2-7) in a 6-1 win. Three of those goals came from Freeman, who pushed her season total to a team-high 10 goals with her eight in the Panthers’ three recent wins.
Freeman scored the first three, and Instrum and Schulman added the fourth and fifth. Maize Rosenheimer got the Saints on the scoreboard about 10 minutes into the second half, and Panther Carson Peacock scored her first career goal at 64:03.
Middlebury held an advantage in both shots (35-8) and penalty corners (17-5). Miller finished with four saves for Middlebury, while Stowe’s Kim Haab made 17 stops for the Saints.

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