#3 Middlebury Edges SUNY New Paltz in Overtime

Annie Leonard scored six goals and assisted on another in a 2-1 week for the Panthers.
Annie Leonard scored six goals and assisted on another in a 2-1 week for the Panthers.

Middlebury's Annie Leonard scored 2:57 into overtime, lifting the third-ranked Panther field hockey team to a 4-3 victory Sunday over visiting SUNY New Paltz on Kohn Field. The win put Middlebury at 8-2 on the season, while the Hawks fell to 8-4. The Panthers return to NESCAC play on Saturday at Trinity, while New Paltz is at Kean on Tuesday. The game marked the first meeting between the two programs.

Middlebury opened the scoring on the first shot of the contest with Molly Freeman getting the hosts on the board after only 45 seconds of play. Freeman worked her way through the left side of the Hawk defense and pushed a low shot past keeper Megan Gangewere for her third goal of the season.

New Paltz countered less than two minutes later, tying the game at a goal apiece. Hayley Kim carried the ball inside the Middlebury circle and dished a short pass to her left that was deflected by Serena Capsello and ultimately to Justine O'Reilly, who put a low shot under a diving Emily Miller.

The Panthers regained the one-goal lead with 15:29 on the clock when Lauren Schweppe swept in a long pass through the circle from Marissa Baker.

With the hosts holding a 2-1 lead at the start of the second half, the pace picked up in the final 10 minutes with the teams combining for three goals in a span of 1:11. The Hawks tied the game 2-2 with 7:53 remaining when Kaitlyn Gunter redirected a pass from Serena Capsello just inside the right post. The Panthers jumped back in front 35 seconds later as Schweppe used a diving backhanded shot on a pass from Carson Peacock. The goal was Schweppe's eighth of the season giving her six tallies in the last four games.

New Paltz netted the equalizer (3-3) with 6:42 left on the clock when Kayla McKeveny banged in her own rebound for her eighth goal of the year.

The teams remained tied at the end of regulation and they returned the field for a 15-minute overtime period with seven players aside. Less than three minutes into overtime, Middlebury was awarded a penalty corner and Schweppe put a pass on Leonard's stick on the right wing. Leonard stepped around the defender and laced a shot into the far corner for her sixth game-winning goal of the season. The tally was also her 17th of the season and the 50th of her career.

Miller earned the win in goal for the Panthers with three saves, while Gangewere recorded 12 stops. Middlebury held an 18-10 advantage in shots, while the Hawks led in penalty corners, 9-6.