The Middlebury women’s soccer team recorded a pair of victories last week. The Panthers scored a trio of goals in the first half on their way to a 4-0 non-conference road victory Wednesday over Skidmore. Middlebury returned to NESCAC play Saturday, posting a 1-0 win over Tufts on a rain-soaked Dragone Field.
In the sixth minute, junior Jamie Soroka's (Redondo Beach, Calif.) team-leading fourth goal of the season put Middlebury in front. Sophomore Adrianna Gildner (Woodinville, Wash.) slipped a through ball into the 18-yard box and Soroka pounced on her own rebound putting Middlebury on the board at the 5:07 mark. Her initial shot was turned away by Thoroughbreds' goalkeeper Deirdre Walsh.
Junior Hannah Robinson (Davidson, N.C.) doubled the Panthers lead in the 20th minute, unleashing a strike from 25 yards away that dipped just under the crossbar.
Robinson set up Middlebury's final goal of the half, surging into the box from the right wing and cutting a pass to rookie Emma Shumway (Arlington, Va.), who slotted home a shot from eight yards for her first career score.
Rookie Alissa Huntington (San Francisco, Calif.) put the game away in the 65th minute with a tap-in from a well-delivered corner kick served into the box by Robinson. Collecting Robinson's rebound off her scoring attempt, Huntington put the ball in the back of the net a few seconds later for her initial career tally.
Skidmore nearly got on the board in the 74th minute, but Morgan Governale's left-footed effort from 25 yards away landed comfortably into the hands of Middlebury rookie goalkeeper Emily Eslinger (Wayzata, Minn.).
In the contest, the Panthers outshot the Thoroughbreds by a 14-9 tally and also owned a 4-2 edge in corner kicks. Walsh made four saves for Skidmore, while Eslinger was credited with three stops for her second shutout in as many starts.
On Saturday, a goal in the 77th minute from senior Claire Nishioka (Wayland, Mass.) proved to be the difference as Middlebury earned a 1-0 victory.
Scoring chances were few and far between as the field was slippery. In the 28th minute, Robinson dribbled down the right side and sent a cross all the way to the left side of the field. Nishioka looked to get the Panthers on the board from five yards out, but Eileen McGarry made a diving save to her right to keep the match scoreless.
In the 69th minute, Tufts' Brooke Fortin collected a loose ball in front of the Panther goal, but in the wet conditions was unable to control it, as a potential scoring attempt ricocheted off her knee and fell harmlessly over the end line.
A little over five minutes later, senior Carter Talgo (Stamford, Conn.) sent a through ball to the feet of Nishioka, but McGarry was again up for the challenge stoning Nishioka's would-be attempt with a sprawling save to her right from six yards out.
With just over 14 minutes left in regulation, Robinson gained possession of the ball on the offensive side of the midfield stripe. She worked down the right side, sent a pass to sophomore Day Robins (McKinleyville, Calif.), who in turn sent a cross that skidded all the way to Nishioka on the left side about 10 yards away. Nishioka gathered the ball and laced a shot into the lower right corner for the score at the 76:15 mark.
Neither team was able to muster any additional scoring opportunities, as the Panthers hung on for the key NESCAC win.
McGarry was credited with three saves for the Jumbos, while Eslinger needed just one save for the shutout. She has yet to allow a goal in her first three career starts (3-0).
The Panthers owned a 15-3 edge in the shot category, while Tufts held a slight 6-5 advantage in corner kicks.
• Women’s soccer record: 6-3
• Up next: 10/7 vs. St. Lawrence – 4:00, 10/11 @ Trinity – 11:00, 10/12 @ Hamilton – 11:00