September 24, 2012

The Middlebury College field hockey team scored a pair of first-half goals and held off Bowdoin for an eventual 2-1 win in a battle between nationally-ranked squads on Saturday afternoon at Kohn Field. The #3 Panthers dealt the fifth-ranked Polar Bears their first regular season loss since October of 2010, snapping a string of 18 consecutive wins.

The Panthers jumped out early as junior Katherine Theiss (Wilmette, Ill.) connected with a breakaway pass ahead to senior Lauren Greer (North Hampton, N.H.), who flicked the ball past Bowdoin netminder Kayla Lessard just 8:16 into the contest. Lessard kept her team close with several nice saves on penalty corner opportunities for Middlebury in the ensuing minutes, allowing Bowdoin to make a bid to tie the score late in the half.

Off a penalty corner, Brooke Phinney ripped a shot that bounced behind Middlebury senior keeper Madeline Brooks (Clayton, Mo.), but was swept off the goal line by junior defender Meredith Rowe (Kenilworth, Ill.) to preserve the hosts' one-goal edge. Moments later, Greer connected with sophomore Catherine Fowler (Grosse Pointe, Mich.) in front, who ripped a shot past Lessard for a 2-0 edge at 26:16.

Middlebury carried its lead through halftime until Bowdoin's Katie Riley redirected an Olivia King shot at 40:20 to trim the edge to 2-1. The Polar Bears had seven shots in the second half, but could not find an equalizer.

Bowdoin's Lessard and Middlebury's Brooks finished with six saves each in the game. Bowdoin held a 15-14 advantage in shots.

Middlebury earned its second win over a top 10 opponent in as many days as the third-ranked Panthers (5-0, 4-0) earned a 3-1 win over 10th-ranked Amherst (5-1, 2-1) on Kohn Field.

Middlebury jumped out early as Greer made a nice crossing pass to rookie Anna Kenyon (Dedham, Mass.), who converted just 1:52 into the contest. Amherst came back strong with four penalty corners in a three-minute span, but could not tie the game up.

The Jeffs did break through at the 8:40 mark, tying the game at 1-1. Krista Zsitvay’s original shot was saved by Brooks (8 saves), before Katie McMahon pounced on the rebound and scored. Middlebury threatened again when Greer’s attempt was stopped by a defensive save from Annie Turnbull.

Middlebury scored a big goal late in the first half on a penalty corner with 10 seconds remaining. Senior Charlotte Gardiner (Larchmont, N.Y.) quickly fed Greer on the right side, who scored with a hard shot from a tough angle into the far side of the cage.

Greer struck again early in the second half, converting a feed from Fowler for her ninth of the season. Amherst looked to make it a one-goal game minutes later, but Brooks made a nice save on an attempt from McMahon. Rachel Tannenbaum (7 saves) answered on the other end in the 52nd minute, with a diving stop on a strong shot from Theiss. A late defensive save by Amherst’s Ellie Anderson kept it a 3-1 final.

• Field Hockey record: 5-0

• Up next: 9/26 @ Skidmore, 9/29 @ Wesleyan