Top-ranked Middlebury broke open a one-goal game, scoring four-straight times to start the second half en route to a 10-6 victory at 18th-ranked Wesleyan on Saturday. The Panthers (4-0, 3-0), winners of 16-straight games dating back to last season, are home Tuesday when they Rensselaer at 5:30 p.m., while the Cardinals (4-2, 2-1) are at Kean on Thursday for a 4:00 p.m. start.
Mary O'Connell got the Panthers off to a fast start, scoring the game's first three goals. She tallied the initial score 3:08 into the contest on an assist from Casey O'Neill. After cashing on a free-position attempt, O'Connell made it a 3-0 contest 7:30 into the game. Georgia Carroll added another marker less than a minute later for a four-goal edge.
The Cardinals made a late push, making it a one-goal game at the half. After Middlebury led 5-1, the hosts scored three times in the last 3:36 to trim the difference one. Becca Phillips scored the final tally of that run five seconds before the break.
Early in the second half, O'Neill scored twice in a span of 59 seconds, putting the Panthers in front 7-4 with three minutes expired. O'Connell extended the lead to 8-4 with 23:33 on the clock, cashing in on a feed from Carroll while the team was on an extra-player opportunity. Bea Eppler kept the run going for Middlebury, netting her first goal of the contest with an assist from Sara DiCenso.
Wesleyan stopped the run with 12:20 remaining when Abby Manning cut the difference to 9-5, but Middlebury quickly answered with a tally from DiCenso. The Cardinals capped the scoring in the closing minutes for a 10-6 final.
O'Connell paced Middlebury with four goals and one assist, while Carroll and O'Neill each scored twice and recorded an assist. O'Connell's four goals give her 101 for her career. Evie Keating led all players with five ground balls and had three caused turnovers, while O'Neill collected three draw controls. Manning paced the Cardinals with a pair of tallies and Leah Giacaione topped their defense with three ground balls and three forced turnovers.
Kate Furber (3-0) made three saves for the Panthers in the win, while Grace McCann (1-1) took the loss with seven saves for the Cardinals. Middlebury held a 22-14 advantage in shots and a 15-12 edge in ground balls.