Panthers pitch two shutouts in field hockey

MIDDLEBURY — The Middlebury College field hockey team assumed sole possession of first place in NESCAC with a 4-0 win over visiting Trinity on Saturday, and also picked up a 7-0 non-league victory over Husson on Sunday.
The Panthers (11-2, 7-1 in NESCAC play) have moved up to No. 3 in the NCAA Division III rankings. They can nail down the top seed and home field for the upcoming NESCAC tournament with wins in their final two games, at league foes Bates (7-5, 4-4) and at home on Tuesday, Oct. 24, at 6:30 p.m. vs. Williams, at 10-2, 6-2 tied with Tufts for second place.
Tufts is visiting Williams on Saturday. If Williams and Middlebury both prevail on Saturday, next Tuesday’s game will decide the top seed for the tournament — the Ephs would earn the head-to-head tiebreaker with a win if both teams finish at 8-2 in league play.
On this past Saturday Trinity, which was 7-5, 3-5 in NESCAC heading into game vs. Wesleyan on Wednesday, nearly scored first. Kelcie Finn took a hard shot to the upper left corner, but Middlebury goalie Abby Furdak (two saves) denied the bid.
Instead, the Panthers grabbed the lead at 13:23, when Marissa Baker one-timed a centering feed from Annie Leonard. 
Leonard made it 2-0 at 8:04 of the half. Grace Jennings carried down the left side of the field and crossed to Danielle Brown, and Leonard tipped in her shot.
Early in the second Bantam goalie Lori Berger (eight saves) came off her line to deny a Jennings breakaway.
Molly Freeman added to the Panther lead on a penalty corner in the 48th minute. Baker crossed to Leonard, and Freeman tipped in her shot. The final goal of the game came on another penalty corner 3:32 later, when Jennings redirected an Audrey Quirk shot. Middlebury outshot the Bantams, 22-6.
 On Sunday the Panthers breezed by Husson (8-4) as Leonard moved up the program’s scoring list with a goal and an assist. Her 67th career goal moved her past Heidi Howard into second place all-time, and her three points put her into third place with 156 career points (67-22-156), again moving past Howard.
Julia Richards led Middlebury with a hat trick with two of the goals assisted by Diana Milne, and Baker, Jennings and Amanda Bozorgi added scores.
Husson failed to put a shot in goal. Husson goalie Anne Marie Provencal finished with 17 stops as Middlebury held a 30-1 advantage in shots and an 11-1 edge in penalty corners. Dating back to a win on Oct. 7 at Tufts, the Panthers have not allowed a goal in 245 and a half minutes of play.

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