September 10, 2012

The Middlebury College field hockey team opened its season with a NESCAC victory over Tufts, topping the Jumbos 5-2 on Kohn Field.

            The Panthers struck just 59 seconds into the game when junior Elinore O’Brien (New Canaan, Conn.) crossed to rookie Anna Kenyon (Dedham, Mass.), who netted the first of her career. Middlebury made it a 2-0 game on a similar goal, when senior Lauren Greer (N. Hampton, N.H.) found junior Katherine Theiss (Wilmette, Ill.) at the 8:24 mark.

            Greer earned a goal of her own at 19:16, flicking a shot high into the cage after taking a feed from sophomore Madeleine Despins (Larchmont, N.Y.). Tufts threatened late in the half with three good scoring opportunities, but the Panthers held and took a 3-0 lead into the intermission.

            Just 2:01 into the second half, Greer made it a 4-0 game, rifling in a shot off a Tufts player. The Jumbos answered with a chance from Chelsea Yogerst, but the Panther defense was able to clear the ball away as she nearly broke in alone. Theiss scored her second of the game at 42:42, converting a deflected pass from Greer to make it a 5-0 contest.

            Tufts turned up the pressure down the stretch, nearly scoring on a penalty corner in the 53rd minute, as senior Madeline Brooks (Clayton, Mo.) came up with a big save in the Panther net. The Jumbos broke through at the 64:50 mark, when Yogerst converted a crossing pass from Rachel Gerhardt. Yogerst struck again less than two minutes later, scoring on a penalty corner after another feed from Gerhardt.

            Brooks finished with a pair of saves to earn the win, while Katie Stuntz made seven stops for Tufts.

Middlebury earned its second win in as many days, thumping MIT 8-3 on Kohn Field. Greer and Theiss each earned a hat-trick, with Greer adding a pair of assists.

            Middlebury struck 6:12 in the game, with Theiss redirecting a long crossing pass on the right side from senior Charlotte Gardiner (Larchmont, N.Y.). Just 1:29 later, Greer drove to the goal and scored from 12 yards out. The lead grew to 3-0 at 9:31 when Theiss scored on a rebound after a shot from Greer had been saved. The duo connected again at 15:43 when sophomore Anne Entwisle (Lower Gwynedd, Pa.) sent in a ball that was tipped by Greer, ending on the stick of Theiss for the finish. Less than two minutes later, Greer’s shot on a penalty corner hit the cross bar, falling straight down as she rushed the goal to put home her own rebound. Sophomore Catherine Fowler’s (Grosse Point, Mich.) blast from the outside made it a 6-0 game at 27:10, before first-year player Chrissy Ritter (Middlebury, Vt.) scored the first of her career at the 31:29 mark to make it a 7-0 contest at the break.

Just 1:38 into the second half, Greer gave the Panthers an 8-0 advantage with an assist from Fowler. MIT came on strong following the goal, with Middlebury sophomore keeper Emily Knapp (Scarsdale, N.Y.) coming up big on Elizabeth Dethy. The Engineers got on the board at 46:05 when Molly Duffy intercepted a pass and blasted a shot into the back of the cage. MIT struck again at 65:04 with a goal from Molly McNamara, while Molly McShane scored the game’s final goal as time expired to make it an 8-3 contest.

Middlebury out shot its opponent 29-9 in the game, as Fowler had a goal and an assist. Brooks earned the win with two first half saves, while Knapp made one in the second half. Jenna Klein (12 saves) started for MIT and then played the second half after Paige Kennedy (2 saves) saw first half action.

• Field Hockey record: 2-0

• Up next: 9/15 @ Colby