The sixth-ranked Middlebury field hockey team recorded a perfect 3-0 week. In a game rescheduled to Monday at Smith, the Panthers eased past the host Pioneers, 5-1. Staying on the road Saturday, Middlebury returned to NESCAC play with a 4-2 victory at #13 Amherst. Returning to Kohn Field on Sunday, five-first half goals lifted the Panthers to a 7-0 victory over visiting Hamilton.
Middlebury jumped out to an early lead on a penalty corner in the sixth minute. Junior Pam Schulman (Greenwich, Conn.) found the back of the cage at the 5:51 mark on an assist from senior Bridget Instrum (Granby, Mass.). A little less than three minutes later at 8:48, the pair connected once again on a penalty corner as Instrum took a shot from the top of the circle that Schulman deflected into the goal.
The score remained that way until the 22nd minute. Sophomore Annie Leonard (Darien, Conn.) scored her first goal of the year on a give-and-go combination with classmate Audrey Quirk (Portland, Ore.). Just over a minute later, rookie Grace Jennings (Ghent, N.Y.) recorded her first career goal when she carried the ball on a breakaway from the left and slipped it past Smith goalkeeper Nora Demick.
At the 30:47 mark, Instrum capped the Panther scoring when she ripped a reverse sweep from the penalty stroke dot via a helper from the right wing by Schulman.
Following the halftime break, Smith tallied its lone goal at the 38:20 mark when Julia Hamilton scored on an assist by Elsie Odhiambo. Both teams had few scoring chances for the remainder of the game.
Middlebury finished with a 16-7 shots advantage in the contest, while holding a 15-7 edge in penalty corners. Junior Emily Miller (Winston-Salem, N.C.) played 67:19 and sophomore Evangeline Dunphy (Williston, Vt.) logged the final 2:41 in front of the net for the Panthers, as Miller tallied four saves. Demick allowed five goals in 35:00 of action with six saves for Smith, while Cameo Tietje played the second half with a pair of stops.
In Saturday’s win, Middlebury was first to strike with Schulman recording her team-leading fourth goal of the season just 3:24 into play. In the first Panther corner of the matchup, sophomore Caroline Knapp (Scarsdale, N.Y.) inserted the ball to senior Shannon Hutteman (Webster, N.Y.), who found the open Schulman on the top left of the circle. Seizing the opportunity, Schulman sent a low, hard shot toward the net that ultimately snuck by Amherst goaltender Emily Horwtiz on her right side.
Responding almost immediately, Annika Nygren was able to find the back of the goal for Amherst just 28 seconds later to even the contest at 1-1. Following consecutive saves by Miller, a clearing attempt by the Panther defense was intercepted by Mary Grace Cronin near the top of the circle. Sending the subsequent pass to the right side, Cronin connected with Nygren who took a one-touch shot to beat Miller short side.
The remaining 31 minutes of the first half proved to be scoreless, with both teams featuring strong defensive play and timely goaltending.
Opening the second half in a similar fashion to the first, it was only 35 seconds before the Purple & White notched the second and final score of the outing. In the right place at the right time, Nygren redirected the shot of Caroline Feeley past Miller and into the goal.
Jennings leveled the score for Middlebury in the 41st minute. In an individual effort, Jennings broke past the Amherst backline and tallied the tying score after her well-placed shot beat Horwitz.
The Panthers notched the game-winner three minutes later, as Knapp corralled the rebound from a shot by senior Anna Kenyon (Dedham, Mass.) and blasted it into the back of the goal.
Despite Amherst's sustained offensive pressure, after roughly 23 minutes of scoreless action Middlebury increased its lead to two with three minutes remaining in the game. Knapp recorded the insurance tally for her second of the game.
Amherst held a slim shots advantage 16-14, while Middlebury edged the Purple & White in corners, 9-5. Horwitz recorded five saves for Amherst, while Miller finished the game with nine saves in the winning effort.
During Sunday’s victory, Middlebury grabbed a 1-0 lead in the fourth minute. Knapp sent a crossing pass from the left side across the circle to Kenyon, who smacked a low shot into the back of the Hamilton cage. Just 35 seconds later, Jennings collected a loose ball at the midfield stripe and raced past the Continental defense, beating Hamilton goalie Julia Booth with a shot to the right side.
The score remained a two-goal advantage for the hosts until the 16:42 mark. On a penalty corner, Leonard scored her first of the day on a blast from just inside the circle. Nearly two minutes later with the Panthers utilizing another penalty corner, the inserted ball came to Schulman who made a quick move to her left. She sent a pass to the stick of Leonard, who again roped a hard shot along the ground that went into the cage on the near post at 18:38 for a four-goal advantage.
At the 20:52 mark on a penalty corner, Knapp inserted the ball to Kenyon, who quickly sent a pass to Hutteman. She tapped a quick shot into the goal for a 5-0 advantage at 20:52.
Hamilton’s best scoring chance of the opening half came in the 24th minute. Eva Rosecrans dribbled her way along the Middlebury goal line, lifting a shot toward Miller, who saved the would-be attempt with her body.
In the early stages of the second half, Schulman increased the Panther lead to 6-0 on her fifth goal of the season at 38:06. Leonard received a pass just inside the 25-yard line and drove hard toward the goal on the right side, drawing multiple Hamilton defenders. She sent a crossing pass to Schulman, who rifled a shot to the far post and into the goal.
Knapp recorded her third helper for the day when she set up rookie Molly Freeman (North Kingstown, R.I.) in the 60th minute. Knapp worked in from the left side just inside the circle, sending a pass to Freeman's stick for her first career goal.
The Panthers held advantages in both shots (24-9) and penalty corners (12-7). Miller played the opening half for the Panthers with a save, while Dunphy made four stops in the final half. Booth was credited with six saves in 47:15, and Mary Kalb was credited with five stops in the final 22:45.
• Field Hockey record: 4-0
• Up next: 9/26 at Bowdoin – 12:00 p.m.