MIDDLEBURY, Vt. Top-ranked Middlebury (6-0, 4-0) scored twice in each half, carrying the Panthers to a 4-2 home NESCAC victory Saturday over eighth-ranked Bowdoin (5-1, 3-1). Middlebury hosts another ranked opponent on Sunday, facing fifth-ranked Babson at 12:00 p.m., while the Polar Bears return home tomorrow for a 2:00 p.m. contest against Southern Maine.
The Panthers got off to a fast start, opening the scoring 7:50 into the contest. On a play that originated as part of penalty corner, Kelly Coyle sent a short pass within the arc to Danielle Brown, who slipped a shot through the legs of Bowdoin goalie Maddie Ferrucci. Middlebury increased its lead to 2-0 just 3:03 later on a tremendous individual effort by Erin Nicholas. Nicholas beat three Polar Bear defenders on her way to the net, before notching her third goal of the season.
Bowdoin's defense came up with a big play with 17:11 left in the half to keep the difference at two, as Ellie Brine made a defensive save on a shot by Julia Richards.
Middlebury's defense was stellar in the opening 35 minutes, not allowing a shot on goal.
The visitors struck quickly in the second half, cutting the deficit to 2-1 with 4:05 expired. Abby Bashaw knocked in her second goal of the season on the right side of the goal after the ball was sent into the arc following a penalty corner.
Grace Jennings put the hosts back in control, scoring twice in a span of 4:28. Jennings swiped in her first goal with 24:44 showing on the clock and netted her second on a long rush up the left side of the field. She outran the Bowdoin defense before flicking a shot inside the far-right post for her team-leading seventh goal of the season.
Between the pipes for the Panthers, Megan Collins had one save, earning her sixth win of the season. For the Polar Bears, Ferrucci had four saves in 56 minutes of action and Eva Verzani did not face a shot in the final 14.
Middlebury posted a 14-9 advantage in shots and a slim 4-3 margin in penalty corners.
The Middlebury women's soccer team rattled off its sixth-straight victory to start the season, posting a 3-1 NESCAC triumph Saturday over visiting Bowdoin. The sixth-ranked Panthers (6-0-0, 3-0-0) continue conference play Sunday, traveling to Hamilton at 11:00 a.m., while the Polar Bears (2-3-1, 1-3-0) are back on the field Wednesday at home against the University of New England in a 4:00 p.m. start.
Middlebury jumped out to the early lead, scoring 3:36 into the contest. Eliza Van Voorhis crossed the ball from the left side into the Polar Bear restraining area, where Alex Barber settled the pass and put a hard shot into the net off a Bowdoin defender. The hosts doubled their advantage minutes later when Polar Bear goalie Sabrina Albanese was unable to corral Sabrina Glaser's blast from 20 yards out. Glaser's team-leading fourth tally of the fall came with 11:41 expired.
The Panthers finished the opening 45 minutes in exciting fashion, as Simone Ameer hooked a shot from the left side inside the far post with 4.4 seconds showing on the clock. Ameer's goal was her second of the season and gave the hosts a 3-0 edge at the break.
The Panthers nearly added a goal in the 65th minute on a low shot from the left side by Ellie Greenberg, but substitute goalie Penny Rocchio made a nice diving save. The Polar Bears spoiled Middlebury's bid for a shutout in the closing seconds, when Ali Dougal's shot bounced off a Panther defender and rolled into the net with seven seconds left in the contest.
In goal for the Panthers, Ursula Alwang made four saves for her fifth victory of the season, while Albanese had four stops for Bowdoin and Rocchio added a pair.
The hosts held an 18-10 margin in shots, but the Polar Bears managed a slight 3-2 advantage in corner kicks.
Courtesy: Middlebury Athletics