Middlebury scored the game's first four goals and held off a late comeback bid by 19th-ranked Amherst (1-1, 0-1), earning a 5-4 victory Saturday on Kohn Field. The top-ranked Panthers (4-0, 2-0) return to action on Sunday when they travel to 16th-ranked Hamilton at 12:00 p.m. The Mammoths take to the field again on Thursday at 7:00 p.m. when they play at Endicott.
The Panthers opened the scoring with 6:05 elapsed in the opening half when Emma Johns tapped in a rebound following an initial shot by Kelly Coyle. The hosts doubled their lead less than two minutes later when Johns scored on a cross from Isabel Chandler as part of a penalty corner. Grace Jennings dribbled up the left side in the final minute of the first half, sending a pass toward the Mammoth goal that was tipped in by Molly Freeman for her fourth score of the season.
Out of the break, Middlebury made the score 4-0 when Danielle Brown redirected a pass from Jennings, who dribbled nearly the length of the field.
The Mammoths started their comeback attempt with three goals in just over seven minutes. Emery Sorvino scored her first of the year at 39:59 on a redirected shot as part of a penalty corner. The goal snapped a scoreless streak of 354:33 by the Middlebury defense that dated back to the 2017 NCAA Semifinals.
Caroline Donahue made the score 4-2 when she tipped in a shot by Sorvino in the 46th minute. Amherst pulled to within one at 4-3 just 100 seconds later when Natalie Hobbs pushed in a long pass from Laura Schwartman for her second score of the fall at the 47:08 mark.
The Panthers increased their lead back to a pair at 5-3 when Johns concluded her hat trick with a quick-touch goal on a pass from Chandler on a penalty corner. The visitors clawed back to within one when Franny Daniels tucked a shot just inside the right post at 57:10.
Neither team had a good scoring chance over the final minutes, as the Panthers hung on for the win.
Middlebury finished the game with a 15-6 advantage in shots and a 7-1 edge in penalty corners. Megan Collins made a pair of saves in the Panther goal, while Katie Savage had eight stops for Amherst.