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Middlebury field hockey coasts passed Hamilton, 8-1

MIDDLEBURY — The Middlebury College field hockey team coasted past visiting Hamilton on Saturday, 8-1, in a NESCAC quarterfinal, and advanced to the league’s final four at Bowdoin this weekend.
The Panthers (15-1 and ranked No. 3 in NCAA Division III) will meet Tufts (11-5) at 1:30 p.m. on Saturday. The Panthers won at Tufts this fall, 3-0. Bowdoin (16-0, ranked No. 1 and the owners of a 2-1 home win over the Panthers) takes on Amherst (12-4) at 11 a.m., with the winners meeting for the NESCAC title at noon on Sunday.
The winner of the NESCAC playoffs is guaranteed a berth in the NCAA tournament. Middlebury and Bowdoin would appear to be guaranteed tournament appearances regardless of this weekend’s results.
On this past Saturday, the Panthers outshot Hamilton, 20-2, in their 8-1 win over the 9-7 Continentals. After a scoreless first 14:11, the Panthers scored three times in under five minutes. Grace Jennings scored on a breakaway and Pam Schulman tapped in a cross from Audrey Quirk before converting a penalty stroke.
The Panthers added first-half goals from Jennings, on a rebound, and Annie Leonard, on a crossing pass from Schulman. 
In the second half, Audrey Quirk scored her first of the year at 41:08, in transition from Jennings; Lauren Schweppe scored in similar fashion from Quirk; and Quirk redirected a pass from Schweppe.
Casey Brown broke up the shutout for Hamilton at the 61:23 mark.
Panther goalie Emily Miller made one save, while Hamilton’s Mary Kalb stopped six Panther shots. The Panthers held an 11-1 edge in penalty corners.

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