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Panther field hockey ends winning streak

MIDDLEBURY — The Middlebury College field hockey teams split two recent games to finish the regular season at 14-1, 9-1 in NESCAC play. Their Tuesday loss to Williams ended the program’s 30-game winning streak.
The defending NCAA Division III champion Panthers, who were ranked No. 1 before Tuesday’s loss at Williams, have earned the top seed in the NESCAC playoffs and will host a league quarterfinal at 1 p.m. on Saturday against NESCAC’s No. 8, seed, the identity of which was to be determined by games played on Wednesday after the deadline for the sports section. Colby or Bates are possibilities. Barring an upset, the Panthers will host the league final four on Nov. 3 and 4.
On this past Saturday the Panthers defeated visiting Bates, 3-0. The Bobcats entered Wednesday at 6-8, 2-7 in league play. Isabel Chandler gave Middlebury the lead 44 seconds into the contest on a penalty corner. Marissa Baker blasted a shot from the top of the arc, and Chandler tipped it in at the left post.
The Bobcats’ best chance of the half came in the sixth minute, when Panther goalie Megan Collins (two saves) used her pads to deny Meaghan Waldron. Middlebury made it 2-0 at 14:11, when Molly Freeman redirected a cross from Grace Jennings after Jennings had raced down the left side.
Middlebury tacked on an insurance strike at 49:12: Erin Nicholas batted home a loose ball out of the air. Bates goalie Ellie Bauer made 10 saves.
On Tuesday No. 16 Williams (11-4, 7-3 NESCAC) scored four times in the first half to upset the Panthers, 4-2. The Ephs got one goal from Libby Dolan and two from Emma Ticknor before a Nicholas goal in the 23rd minute made it 3-1. Five minutes later Ticknor converted to make it 4-1. Nicholas scored her team-leading 11th goal in the second half.
Collins made two saves for the Panthers, while two Eph goalies combined for seven saves.

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