Middlebury's Katie George scored just 32 seconds into Saturday's fourth quarter, lifting the top-ranked Panthers (4-0, 2-0) to a 1-0 NESCAC road victory over ninth-ranked Bowdoin (3-1, 2-1). Middlebury squares off Sunday with another top-20 opponent on the road, taking on 18th-ranked Babson at 12:00 p.m.
Scoring chances were hard to come by during the evenly-played opening 30 minutes of action. The Panthers held a narrow 5-4 advantage in shots and a 4-3 edge in penalty corners.
In the third quarter, the Panthers had their best opportunity to get on the scoreboard with less than under 10 minutes left on a penalty corner. A shot by Marissa Baker on a give-and-go slid outside the right post. With a little more than two minutes remaining in the frame, a pass by Bowdoin scooted just wide of the far post, as Middlebury outshot Bowdoin 3-0 in the third quarter.
With less than 30 seconds elapsed the final quarter, Middlebury earned its eighth penalty corner of the contest. After the initial pass was stopped and moved around the circle, a pass by Baker was sent into the scoring area. Following a scrum in front of the Polar Bear goal, George collected it on the right side and fired a shot just inside the right post for her team-leading fifth tally of the season.
Bowdoin looked to knot the score a couple minutes later on a sweeping, backhanded shot by Claudia Kriz from inside the circle, but Panther goalie Grace Harlan kicked away the attempt with her right pad to preserve the lead.
Neither side mounted much of a scoring chance over the remainder of the contest, as the Panthers held on for the narrow one-goal victory.
Between the pipes for the Panthers, Harlan finished with two saves for her fourth win of the season and third shutout. For the Polar Bears, Ferrucci had six stops.
Middlebury posted a 13-6 advantage in shots, including an 8-2 edge after halftime, and a 9-3 margin in penalty corners with all five chances after the intermission.