Top-seeded Middlebury scored twice in each half on its way to a 4-1 triumph over eighth-seeded Bates (9-7) in a NESCAC Quarterfinal Saturday on Kohn Field. The Panthers (14-2), winners of 10-straight games, will host the league's championship weekend, where they will face seventh-seeded Bowdoin at 11:00 a.m. Third-seeded Williams and fifth-seeded Trinity play the second contest at 1:30 p.m. with the winners meeting for the NESCAC title at noon on Sunday.
Middlebury jumped out to an early lead, scoring 6:06 into the contest. Annie Leonard carried the ball up the right side before centering a pass to Emma Johns, who ripped a shot into the Bobcat net for her fourth tally of the fall.
Bates registered its only shot of the stanza near the midway point, but Middlebury goalie Abby Furdak denied Taylor Lough's scoring bid from close range. The hosts doubled their lead with 3:37 remaining before the break when Grace Jennings poked in a rebound on a shot taken by Marissa Baker.
In the second half, the Bobcats pulled to within 2-1 with 16:49 expired, as Lough carried the ball into the shooting area and pushed a shot inside the left post for her team-leading 10th of the year.
The hosts had a quick answer as Jennings netted her second of the game on a tremendous individual effort, making it a 3-1 margin. She intercepted a Bates' pass at midfield, split a pair of defenders on her way to the cage before tucking a shot in the right side of the net. The tally came just 51 seconds after the Bobcats closed to within a goal.
Middlebury tacked on a final goal in the last minute of play, as Baker one-timed a pass from Isabel Chandler with 54.9 seconds remaining for the 4-1 final.
Furdak made a pair of saves for the victory, while Adelae Durand made five stops for Bates. Middlebury held a 10-4 advantage in shots.