Middlebury

FIELD HOCKEY TOPS TUFTS ON STROKES

September 12, 2011

After allowing a game-tying goal with one second left in regulation, Middlebury posted a 3-2 victory in penalty strokes at Tufts in a battle between top 10 field hockey teams to open 2011 on Saturday afternoon at Bello Field.

            The Panthers had trailed 1-0 before surging to a 2-1 lead on the strength of a goal and an assist by rookie Madeleine Despins (Larchmont, N.Y.) in her collegiate debut. However, they couldn't clear the ball with time expiring and Tufts first year Brittany Norfleet scored amidst a mess in front of the Panther cage with one second on the clock to tie the game at 2-2.

            Middlebury had the better opportunities in the two 15-minute overtime periods. They had a two-on-one break early in the first OT, but junior Charlotte Gardiner's (Larchmont, N.Y.) shot went wide. In the second overtime, the Panthers had numerous chances and Jumbo senior goalie Marianna Zak finished the period with eight saves. Middlebury outshot Tufts 12-0 in the second overtime.

            On to penalty strokes, Jumbo senior Taylor Dyer hit the post on the first attempt, followed by a goal from Middlebury junior Lauren Greer (N. Hampton, N.H.). Middlebury first year Emily Knapp (Scarsdale, N.Y.), who came on to play goal during the shoot-out, made saves on the next two Tufts attempts while junior Margaret Souther (Scarsdale, N.Y.) and rookie Catherine Fowler (Grosse Point, Mich.) scored on the next two Panther tries to secure the win for the visitors.

            Visiting Middlebury (1-0) started strong, but it was Tufts (0-1) that controlled most of the first half. Panther senior goalie Becca Shaw (S. Burlington, Vt.) made four saves in the first 35 minutes and the score was 0-0 at halftime.

            The Jumbos scored first when junior Kelsey Perkins deflected in a drive from senior Sarah Cannon on a corner opportunity less than three minutes into the second half. However, Middlebury evened the game at 1-1 when Greer scored off a centering pass by Despins on the first Panther shot on goal in the game with 22:48 remaining in the second half. At 13:44, Despins put Middlebury up 2-1 when she was on the spot during a mad scramble in front of the Tufts cage.

            With two minutes left, Middlebury's Shaw made a fine save on a shot by Cannon during a corner attempt. Tufts kept up the pressure, ultimately resulting in Norfleet's goal off an assist from junior Lia Sagerman right before the final horn.

            Though Tufts had a large 18-8 advantage in penalty corners on the afternoon, Middlebury totaled 30 shots to 25 for the Jumbos. Shaw finished with nine saves while Zak made 11 at the other end.
• Field hockey record: 1-0                            
• Up next: 9/17 vs. Colby – 11:00