Middlebury lost its season-opener for the first time in 22 years, as the Panthers fell to Bates 11-9 on Kohn Field. The win for the Bobcats was their first over the Panthers in the last 17 meetings, dating back to a win by the same score in 1994.
Middlebury got off to a great start, taking a 3-0 lead behind a pair of goals from Stephanie Gill in the game's first 6:25. Bates answered with two before Gill scored her third and Michaela Colbert netted the first of her career to make it a 5-2 Middlebury lead at the 9:51 mark. Jenna Dannis closed out the first half scoring for Bates, cutting the deficit to 5-3 at the intermission.
Bates made it a one-goal game before rookie Margaret Souther scored a pair for the Panthers to give them a 7-4 lead. Bates then went on a run, scoring the game's next five goals to take a 9-7 lead with 13:01 remaining. Molly Radis and Morgan Maciewicz each scored twice during the spurt, with Radis converting a free position at 13:32. Colbert scored her second of the game for Middlebury to make it a one-goal game, before Radis answered for Bates at the 6:48 mark. Colbert again made it a one-goal game with 6:15 left to play, as the Panthers trailed 10-9.
Bates took over possession at the 2:30 mark and began to take time of the clock. The Bobcats gained some breathing room later in the possession, as Joan O'Neill made a long cut to the goal with the ball, scoring with a quick shot to give Bates a two-goal lead with just 1:43 remaining. Middlebury threatened, but could not score twice as a free position attempt was denied at the buzzer.
Gill and Colbert led Middlebury with three goals apiece, while Souther added a pair. Radis paced Bates with three, while Maciewicz scored twice. Avery Pierce was big on defense for the Bobcats, causing five turnovers on the afternoon. Mara Krueger made nine saves in goal to earn the win, while Lily Nguyen made nine for the Panthers.