Middlebury got back on track with a 13-9 win over sixth-ranked Tufts on Saturday afternoon at Kohn Field. The #16 Panthers improve to 6-6 overall, 4-4 in the NESCAC, while the Jumbos see their nine-game winning streak come to an end, falling to 10-3, 5-3 in the league. The win breaks the first three-game skid for Middlebury since '84, as they wrap up their regular season with a game at Skidmore Wednesday before hosting Williams on Friday.
Trailing 2-1, Middlebury rattled off four straight goals to take a 5-2 lead with 13:16 remaining in the first half. Dana Heritage scored twice during the run to spark the Panthers early. Tufts closed the first half with two of the final three goals to make it a 6-4 game at the intermission.
The team's exchanged the first four goals of the second half over a 4:39 span, leaving Middlebury with an 8-6 lead. The Panthers gained some breathing room with a four-goal run, taking a 12-6 lead with 16:51 left to play. Chase Delano drove to the goal and scored with a high shot, before scoring one-on-one after entering the field unguarded as a substitute. Sally Ryan netted the second two goals of the decisive run, scoring in transition before converting a free position with a low shot to the corner of the cage.
Tufts would not go away, as the Jumbos made a late run to make it a three-goal game. Steph Perez scored on a rebound at 13:04, before Jenna Abelli scored twice, including a nice cut with a shot to the top corner at the 10:32 mark.
Leading 12-9, Middlebury gained possession for the final three minutes and was able to run down the clock. Stephanie Gill capped the scoring with four seconds remaining, cutting to the goal to convert a nice feed from Delano.
Heritage led all goal scorers with four, followed by Delano with three and three assists, while Gill scored with four helpers on the afternoon. Sally Ryan earned two goals and an assist in the win, as Hannah Epstein earned four ground balls and Gill picked up three draw controls. Lily Nguyen was big down the stretch, ending the afternoon with 14 saves between the pipes.
Abelli scored three to lead Tufts, while Kerry Eaton netted a pair. Alyssa Kopp and Emily Pillemer each picked up four draw controls in the game. Sara Bloom made nine saves on the afternoon for the Jumbos.