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Panther field hockey nabs a playoff victory

MIDDLEBURY — The fourth-seeded Middlebury College field hockey team on Saturday defeated visiting No. 5 Bowdoin, 2-0, in a NESCAC quarterfinal. The Panthers (13-3) advanced to this weekend’s NESCAC final four at top-seeded Tufts, where they will meet No. 3 Hamilton (12-4) at 1:30 p.m. on Saturday. Tufts (12-2) will take on No. 7 Williams (10-6) at 11 a.m., with the winners meeting for the title at noon on Sunday.
On this past Saturday, Middlebury’s Marissa Baker opened the scoring 10 minutes into the game. After Polar Bear goalie Clara Belitz kicked away a shot by Grace Jennings, Belitz intercepted a clearing attempt and lifted a reverse sweep up and over Belitz.
In the 25th minute, the Panthers’ Lauren Schweppe converted on the game’s first penalty corner. Audrey Quirk inserted the ball to Jennings, who stopped it to allow Schweppe rifle a shot home from just inside the arc. The tally was Schweppe’s 11th of the season.
The Polar Bears pressed in the first 10 minutes of the second half. Their best scoring chance came in the 41st minute, when Middlebury goalie Emily Miller twice denied Kimmy Ganong on the doorstep after she had carried the ball in from the right side.
Bowdoin also had a goal disallowed in the 55th minute on its first penalty corner. A shot from just outside the arc was tipped home and the goal was briefly put up on the scoreboard, but officials ruled it hit a defender’s stick.
Middlebury finished with a 7-6 advantage in shots and both teams finished with two penalty corners. Miller made four saves for her sixth shutout of the season and 14th of her career, while Draper made three stops for Bowdoin.
Saturday’s game marked was the sixth straight year the two teams have meet in the NESCAC tournament, with the five prior meetings in the title game. Bowdoin won the league title a year ago, but the Panthers defeated the Polar Bears in the NCAA Division III championship game.

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