After dropping its season-opener, Middlebury is back on track with a road win at Wesleyan and an impressive 10-8 win at second-ranked Gettysburg on Tuesday. The Panthers saw the Bullets go on a four-goal run to pull within 10-8, but the 10th-ranked Panthers held on the for the win.
The game ended as a thriller, but the Panthers managed to control most of the action early with an efficient effort on the offensive end. After senior Jessica Crane broke the egg with the opening goal at 25:39, Middlebury scored on 10 of its next 15 shot attempts, taking a 10-4 advantage on a hook-up by Dana Heritage and Chase Delano with 18:11 remaining in the contest.
Senior Hollis Stahl began Gettysburg's comeback with a free-position score at 16:27. Middlebury attempted to stall during the remaining time, but the Bullets kept after the ball and forced the Panthers into turnovers, which in turn developed into scores. Seniors Lexie Hearn and Nina Emala put in two more free-position goals to pull the Bullets to 10-7 with 4:43 left.
Gettysburg goalie Kristen Krammer tried to help on the defensive end by double-teaming the ball around the goal, but Delano took advantage of the unmanned net and bounced the ball into the cage, appearing to give Middlebury a four-goal advantage. The score was wiped away, however, when her stick was found to be illegal before the next draw. The Bullets took advantage as sophomore Hannah Church scored on a free position shot to pull to 10-8 with 2:09 to play.
The hosts won the next draw, but turned the ball over before taking a shot. Middlebury was unable to clear the ball up the field as Stahl forced a turnover, picked up the ground ball, and dished off the pass to Emala in front of the goal circle. Emala's shot was stopped cold by Lily Nguyen and the ball skidded away with around 40 seconds left.
Gettysburg corralled the loose ball and took two more stabs at the goal. Junior Marnie Commins missed wide on a free position attempt and Stahl was thwarted yet again by Nguyen. The Panthers managed to gain control and avoided any miscues over the remaining 20 seconds.
On paper, Gettysburg had the advantage in shots (29-18) and ground balls (14-13) and forced Middlebury into 17 turnovers, eight of which came on clear attempts (14-22).
What stopped the Bullets was a big day from Nguyen in goal. The Panthers' sophomore keeper stonewalled a dozen shot attempts, including eight in the second half alone. Delano provided the bulk of the offense with four goals and one assist, while Heritage lit the lamp three times. Neile Weeks was a force on the defensive side of the field for Middlebury with five ground balls and three caused turnovers.
Stahl led Gettysburg with three goals and four caused turnovers, and tied for the team lead with three ground balls. Emala added three assists to her goal and Hearn tallied two goals and two caused turnovers. Krammer made five saves in the loss.