Panthers Down Wesleyan in NESCAC Opener

Marissa Baker scored twice in the win.
Marissa Baker scored twice in the win.

The top-ranked Middlebury field hockey team improved to 2-0 with a 7-0 win over Wesleyan (1-1, 0-1) in the NESCAC opener for both teams. The Panthers (2-0, 1-0) return to action on Sunday when they visit the University of New England with a 1:00 p.m. start.

Middlebury outshot Wesleyan 11-0 in the first quarter but could not get a shot past Cardinal keeper Delaney Wood, who made eight saves in the frame. Meg Fearey broke through for the visitors at the 20:18 mark of the second quarter, redirecting a shot from Audrey Lazar on a penalty corner.

At the 28:51 mark, Middlebury took advantage of its third-straight penalty corner, when Isabel Chandler hit a hard shot from the top of the arc to make it 2-0 heading into the break.

The Panthers continued their offensive pressure in the third quarter, scoring twice to increase the lead to 4-0. The first goal came at the 37:13 mark when Marissa Baker tipped in a shot by Katie George, before Baker scored on a penalty corner from Emma Johns as time expired at the end of the frame.

Wesleyan looked to get on the board at the start of the fourth quarter after a penalty corner. Olivia Baglieri's shot was blocked, before Erica Horowitz collected the rebound, but her attempt at the 45:53 mark was denied by Panther goalie Grace Harlan.

Middlebury increased its advantage to 5-0 when Danielle Brown one-timed a rebound from Baker's initial saved shot.

The Panthers added back-to-back goals in the 55th minute for the 7-0 final score. Grace Murphy flipped a high shot in the far corner after a scramble, before Kelly Coyle tallied the final goal at the 55:48 mark when she cut down the middle before finding the bottom-left corner.

Harlan finished the game with a save for the Panthers, while Wood made 19 stops in 55:48 of action. Middlebury concluded the game with dominating advantages in shots (42-2) and penalty corners (9-1).