Sports

Panther women’s teams sweep foes

MIDDLEBURY — Weekend NESCAC sweeps for the Panther women’s hockey and basketball teams highlighted recent Middlebury College athletics action.

Elsewhere, the Middlebury ski team was third at the St. Michael’s Winter Carnival, the men’s hoop team saw its winning streak snapped, and the men’s hockey team picked up a win and a tie in three outings.

WOMEN’S HOCKEY

The women’s hockey team swept a weekend series from Colby to improve to 13-0 overall, 8-0 in NESCAC play. They remain the top-ranked team in NCAA Division III and will host Hamilton for two games this weekend. The Mules, who entered the series ranked No. 10, dropped to 8-3, 4-3.

On Friday the Panthers edged the Mules, 3-2. Middlebury outshot Colby, 49-23, as Mule goalie Nina Prunster stopped 46 shots.

The Panthers broke through at 9:22 of the second period on a power play. Cat Appleyard netted her own rebound of a shot from the slot. At 15:55 another power play goal made it 2-0, this time when Kylie Quinlan converted during a goal-front scramble.

Madie Leidt made it 3-0 five minutes into the third period, with assists from Katie Hargrave and Appleyard after another scrum in front of Prunster.

Colby’s Meg Rittenhouse, at 7:04, and Jillian Mozzocca, with 1:29 to go, scored to bring Colby close. Sophie Merageas made 21 saves for the Panthers.

On Saturday Colby outshot the Panthers, but Middlebury prevailed, 2-1, as Merageas made 32 saves. Middlebury took a 1-0 lead early in the first on a Hargrave rebound on a power play.

Colby’s Abby Wick equalized early in the second period from close range during a scramble in which Merageas lost her stick.

Jenna Letterie netted Middlebury’s game-winner with 20 seconds left in the second period, wristing home a feed from Leidt.

WOMEN’S BASKETBALL

The women’s hoop team won once at home and once on the road this past weekend to improve to 9-7, 3-1 NESCAC. The Panthers will play at Connecticut College on Saturday.

On this past Saturday the Panthers edged visiting Williams, 67-62. The Ephs dropped to 7-10, 2-3 in the league.

Williams led early in the third period, 46-42. The Panthers responded with a 10-2 run and still led after three periods, 52-51.

The Panthers increased their lead to 58-53 on treys by Alexa Mustafaj and Reagan McDonald. The Ephs answered to tie the game at 62-62 with 2:03 left. Middlebury’s Bethany Lucey nailed a go-ahead three at 1:25, and Mustafaj and Lucey each hit a free throw in the final 10 seconds to seal the victory.

Mustafaj scored 23 points, while Lucey contributed 10 points and 10 rebounds. Emily Downer scored 13 points, grabbed six boards and blocked two shots, while Gianna Palli added nine points and seven rebounds for the Panthers.

On Sunday the Panthers picked up a 70-61 victory at Hamilton (8-8, 3-3). The Panthers opened the game with a 13-3 run and never trailed, although Hamilton was within 32-28 at the half.

Three-pointers played a big role as the Panthers took control in the second half. Back-to-back treys from McDonald and Lucey gave the Panthers a 45-37 lead with 4:04 left in the quarter, and they led by 52-46 entering the fourth.

Threes by Mustafaj, Palli and McDonald helped Middlebury lead by as many as 12 down the stretch.

Mustafaj scored 24, Lucey recorded 16 points and 11 rebounds, McDonald scored 19, and Palli chipped in 10 points and nine rebounds.

Kelci Zarle scored 26 points for the Continentals.

MEN’S HOCKEY

The men’s hockey team stands at 2-8-2, 1-7-1, after a busy recent stretch. The team is on the road for two league games this weekend.

On this past Friday the Panthers overcame a pair of one-goal deficits to earn a 2-2 tie against visiting Bowdoin.

The Polar Bears opened the scoring on a power play at 14:29 of the first period, with Joe Alexander doing the damage.

The Panthers pulled even at 1:06 of the second, when Jack Clarner’s shot from the left point deflected in off Zach Shapiro. Alexander restored the Polar Bears’ lead about five minutes later on another power play.

Middlebury knotted the score at 2-2 at 7:38 of the third period, when Clarner’s shot through traffic from the left point found its way home.

The Panthers outshot the Polar Bears, with Middlebury Jake Horoho making 19 stops and Bowdoin’s Alex Kozic making 36 saves.

On Saturday visiting Colby (9-3-0, 6-2-0) topped the Panthers, 3-1, despite being outshot by 29-21. The Mules scored twice in the second and once in the third.

The Panthers pulled goalie Adam Wisco with 4:45 remaining, and they scored with 1:31 to go, when Andrej Hromic wristed home Jin Lee’s cross-ice pass.

Mule goalie Andy Beran made 28 saves, including three tough stops early in the third period with the score still just 2-0. Wisco stopped 18 shots.

On Tuesday the Panthers knocked off visiting Hamilton, 3-2, when Chris Garbe scored the game-winning goal 2:22 into overtime. The Continentals dropped to 5-6, 4-5 NESCAC.

Middlebury took the lead at 10:27 of the first, when Nolan Moore converted a Lee feed from the left circle. Hamilton’s William Neault equalized at 5:42 of the second period, and the Continentals took the lead five minutes later, when Jordi Jefferson converted a shorthanded breakaway. Garbe tied the game at 14:20 of the third with a shot from the right point.

The Panthers had a great chance to knot the game with 8:41 expired in the third period when Alex Lee took a shot from point blank range that goaltender Sean Storr stopped. The rebound trickled behind Storr, but a Continental defender got there just in time to clear the puck. Middlebury found the equalizer at the 14:20 mark when Garbe’s shot from the right point slipped past Storr, making it 2-2 and sending the contest into overtime.

Two minutes into overtime Horoho made two big saves for the Panthers. Garbe’s game-winner goal came with 2:22 left. He intercepted a clearing attempt, carried the puck into the slot and lifted it home. But Horoho and Hamilton goalie Sean Storr finished with 24 saves.

MEN’S BASKETBALL

The men’s basketball squad saw its 12-game winning streak end with a 78-53 loss at No. 20 Williams on Saturday. The Panthers dropped to 14-3, 4-1 NESCAC, while the Ephs moved to 14-1, 4-1 NESCAC.

The Panthers committed 10 first-half turnovers in falling behind by 35-24 in the first 20 minutes, and Williams opened the second half with a 10-2 run to take firm control.

Alex Sobel led the Panthers with his 11th double-double of the winter, scoring 17 points and grabbing 13 rebounds in addition to two blocks and two steals. Noah Osher scored 13 points, and Sam Stevens contributed 10 points and six rebounds and two assists.

The Panthers look to bounce back when they host NESCAC rivals Trinity and Connecticut this weekend.

SKIING

The Middlebury ski team placed third at this past weekend’s Saint Michael’s Carnival with 712 points, trailing Vermont (984) and Dartmouth (760).

On Saturday Lucia Bailey won the women’s slalom with a two-run time of 1:42.05.

Bradshaw Underhill led the men’s team in the slalom, placing eighth with a combined time of 1:34.74.

On the Nordic side, Kate Oldham paced the women’s team by finishing the 5K freestyle in fifth place in 14:56.3.

For the men, Logan Moore led the men in the 5K in 10th (13:14). Cornwall’s Sam Hodges was 11th in 13:16.3.

On Friday the Panther women won the giant slalom as Bailey finished second in 1:44.06 and Alexandra Cossette took third with a two-run time of 1:44.10.

Axel Bailey led the men in the GS by finishing in a tie for fifth place with a time of 1:40.89.

On the Nordic side, Oldham led the way for the women’s team by finishing the 10K freestyle in fourth in 27:53.5.

Hodges led the Panther men by taking 19th in 25:25.

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