Panther field hockey remains unbeaten

MIDDLEBURY — The Middlebury College field hockey team, ranked No. 1 in NCAA Division III, picked up two more wins in recent action, including an overtime home win over No. 3 and previously undefeated Tufts in a key NESCAC game.
The 11-0 Panthers, winners of 27 straight, will visit NESCAC foe Trinity on Saturday. Their defeat of Tufts left them as the only undefeated team in the league.
On this past Saturday the Panthers (6-0 NESCAC) edged stubborn Tufts, 2-1, when Erin Nicholas scored with 1:12 gone in overtime.
The Jumbos began overtime with the ball, and then the Panthers scored on their first possession after stopping the Jumbo advance. A series of passes worked the ball up the field to Nicholas, just over midfield on the right side. Nicholas burst down the right side into the circle, beating several defenders on the way, and flicked a shot that bounced in off Tufts goalie Emily Polinski (three saves).
Both teams converted first-half penalty corners. Middlebury took the lead four minutes in. Isabel Chandler inserted to Grace Jennings at the top of the arc. She set up the ball for Marissa Baker, who blasted a shot just inside the left post.
About 23 minutes into play Jumbo Hanaa Malik drove toward the goal, but Middlebury goalie Megan Collins came off her goal line for her lone save. On a Tufts penalty corner seconds later Beth Krikorian drilled a low shot into the left corner to tie the game. As the half ended Middlebury’s Olivia Green made a defensive save on a shot from Krikorian headed toward the right post on another Jumbo corner.
In the second stanza Tufts earned more territory, but Panther Emma Johns had the best chance: She shot just wide left from eight yards out with nine minutes to go after collecting a loose ball.
Middlebury outshot Tufts, 7-6, but Tufts held an 11-4 advantage in penalty corners, including all six in the second half.
On Tuesday the Panthers held host Rensselaer (2-9) without a shot on goal in a 4-0 victory.  Middlebury took an early lead on goals from Jennings, assisted by Molly Freeman, and Freeman, who swept in a loose ball. Baker, on a first-half rebound, and Alison Denby, from Nicholas on a penalty corner added goals for the Panthers, who held edges of 35-3 in shots at goal and 16-0 in penalty corners.

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