The Middlebury field hockey team scored seven times in the first half, as the Panthers coasted to a 12-1 victory over Castleton in their season opener Wednesday on Kohn Field. Fourth-ranked Middlebury (1-0) opens NESCAC play Sunday hosting Connecticut College at 4:00 p.m., while the Spartans (1-2) entertain Mt. Holyoke Saturday at 12:00 p.m.
The hosts opened the scoring 3:18 into the contest when Molly Freeman slipped a shot from the left side into the Castleton net. The teams combined for four goals in a span of 4:35, putting Middlebury in front 4-1. Emma Johns gave the Panthers a 2-0 edge, but the Spartans cut the difference in half on a goal by Emily Lowell. The Panthers responded with the first collegiate goals from Danielle Brown and Erin Nicholas, extending the advantage to 4-1 with 21:45 remaining in the first stanza.
The lead grew to 5-1 for the hosts on Freeman's second tally of the contest as she poked in a rebound, while Selin Everett and Isabel Chandler each recorded their first career goals as Middlebury led 7-1 at the half. Chandler's tally came while time was expired on a play that originated on a penalty corner.
Middlebury's Annie Leonard started the second half with a pair of goals in the opening 10:23. Those two scores moved the forward into sole possession of fourth place on the program's list for career goals with 59, one behind Reid Berrien '08 for third place. The hosts tacked on three more goals in the second frame with Brown, Meg Fearey (first career goal) and Kelly Coyle for the 12-1 final.
Spartan goalie Tashia Pashby-Rockwood finished with 21 saves, as the Panthers held a 43-2 advantage in shots. Making her first career start in goal for the Panthers, Megan Collins earned the win facing one shot in 39:21 of action and Abby Furdak played a scoreless 30:39.
The 12 goals are the most scored by Middlebury since a 13-0 triumph over Castleton in 2014.