Panther women’s teams win first-round contests

MIDDLEBURY – Both the Middlebury College field hockey and women’s soccer teams won their first-round NCAA Division III Regional games at home on Saturday by convincing final margins, although the women’s soccer team waited until late in the second half to pull away.
The second-ranked Panther field hockey team coasted past overmatched Keene State, 8-0, to advance to Sunday’s final vs. The College of New Jersey (see story). TCNJ (16-4) upset Vassar (18-2), officially by 2-1 after prevailing on a tie-breaking  shootout after overtime did not produce a winner. Vassar had a 21-5 advantage in shots on goal in regulation and overtime, but TCNJ won the shootout, 5-4.
The Panther women’s soccer team bested the University of Maine-Farmington, 4-1, but needed three goals in the final 17 minutes to snap a 1-1 tie after the 8-13 Beavers scored on their only shot on goal to knot the score at 1-1.  On Sunday, Middlebury took on Ithaca (14-2-3) a 1-0 winner over Rochester (9-8-1) on Saturday — see story.
On Saturday Middlebury (18-1) outshot Keene State, 31-2, in its field hockey victory. The Panthers opened the scoring 6:58 into the contest, when Erin Nicholas carried the ball into the circle from the right side and swept the ball past Keene goalie Rachel Loseby (11 saves).
Middlebury made it 2-0 at 21:26, when Grace Jennings placed her stick flat on the turf to redirect home a pass from Nicholas.
Goals by Johns and Nicholas made it 4-0 at the half, and early in the second Alison Denby redirected a Nicholas shot to make it 5-0.
Keene had its best chance to get onto the scoreboard minutes later on a penalty corner, but Panther goalie Megan Collins kicked aside Erica Stauffer’s shot from the right side for her only save.
Closing out the scoring were Jennings, unassisted; Julia Richards, by redirecting a Kelly Coyle shot, and Amanda Bozorgi, by flipping a shot home on a late penalty corner. Keene finished at 13-7.
The third-ranked Panther women’s soccer team (16-1-2) outshot overmatched Maine-Farmington, 51-2, but needed the  late surge to put the game away in part because UMF goalie Callie Hammer made 20 saves, and her defense worked hard to break up a few dangerous chances. 
After launching 18 unsuccessful and unanswered shots, Middlebury broke through with 12:03 left in the first half. Simone Ameer passed the ball from the right corner to Sabrina Glaser in the box. Glaser back-heeled it to the charging Abigail Blyler, who drilled it home from close range. 
UMF tied the match at 39:29 of the second half. McKenna Brodeur received a pass in the offensive end, made a move to get it to her right foot, and blasted a shot from 20 yards away into the upper-left corner. The tally was Brodeur’s 22nd of the season. UMF’s only other shot was blocked at the top of the box.
The Panthers regained the lead at 63:54 on a restart just outside the penalty box. Eliza Robinson’s free kick hit the crossbar and came down to Olivia Miller, who headed the ball from close.
Middlebury continued to dominate and scored about 14 minutes later on another restart just outside the box. Robinson sent a low through ball to a Eliza Van Voorhis, who tipped the ball into the right corner for her team-leading eighth goal.
The Panthers recorded their final goal at 86:04, when Robinson lofted a free kick into the upper-left corner from 25 yards out.

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