Two First-Quarter Goals Lift No. 1 Middlebury Past No. 18 Babson

Meg Fearey tallied the game-winning goal in Sunday's win.
Meg Fearey tallied the game-winning goal in Sunday's win.

The top-ranked Middlebury field hockey team scored twice in Sunday's first quarter en route to a 2-0 road win at 18th-ranked Babson (4-2) Sunday at MacDowell Field. Middlebury (5-0), who runs its winning streak to 12 games dating back to last season, returns to action Saturday when it hosts No. 19 Hamilton in NESCAC action at 11:00 a.m.

The Beavers looked to gain the early advantage 5:48 into the first quarter, but Panther goalie Grace Harlan kicked away a shot with her pad by Quinn Greer to keep the game scoreless. The visitors took a 1-0 lead 2:53 later on a penalty corner. Shots by Middlebury's Danielle Brown and Alison Denby were stopped on defensive saves by Babson's Meara Hanyon, but Panther Meg Fearey gathered the loose ball and jammed it in to earn her second goal this fall.

Middlebury doubled its lead with 1:53 remaining in the initial stanza. Kelly Coyle had her shot blocked by a Babson defender, before Julia Richards buried the loose ball inside the right post for her second goal of the season.

The hosts produced their best scoring chance of the second quarter with 8:30 left, as Harlan denied a hard shot from the right by Kate Driscoll. After back-and-forth play in the midfield, Panther Isabel Chandler fired a shot from inside the circle in the waning seconds that went wide left.

In the third quarter, a tough-angled shot by Brown from the right side with 3:56 elapsed was stopped by diving goalie Cassidy Riley using her stick. Middlebury had another chance on a penalty corner with 5:50 left, but Chandler's bid went inches wide to the right.

During the first 30 seconds of the fourth quarter, Babson earned a penalty corner, but Harlan kicked away a long shot from on top by Cate Diamond. Middlebury had its best opportunity in the fourth when a shot by Emma Johns went wide on a penalty corner three minutes later.

Harlan preserved the shutout with 1:14 showing on the clock following a Panther turnover in the defensive end. Curley collected the loose ball, but Harlan came off her line and made a sliding stop for the 2-0 victory.

Harlan (5-0) finished with a career-high five saves, including three in the final quarter, for her fourth shutout of the season. Riley concluded the contest with four stops for the Beavers.

Middlebury posted a 14-8 advantage in shots, while the Beavers held a 6-4 margin in penalty corners.