Middlebury Earns Draw With Norwich

Kyle Moffat and the Panther defensive unit limited Norwich to just two shots in Tuesday's contest.
Kyle Moffat and the Panther defensive unit limited Norwich to just two shots in Tuesday's contest.

The Middlebury men's soccer team outshot in-state foe Norwich by a 20-2 count on Tuesday, but was unable to find the back of the goal in a 0-0 draw during its season-opening match. The Panthers (0-0-1) begin NESCAC play on Saturday when they travel to Connecticut College at 2:00 p.m., while the Cadets (1-0-2) host Maine Maritime on Friday at 4:00 p.m.

In a first half that saw few scoring opportunities for both sides, Middlebury's best attempt came in the 33nd minute. Drew Goulart gathered a loose ball just inside the box and lofted a shot toward the upper-right corner from 15 yards that was saved by Norwich goalkeeper Brendan Germano. In the final seconds, a Middlebury corner-kick attempt was punched away by the Cadet goalie, sending the match into a scoreless tie at the halftime break.

In the second half, the Panthers held an 8-1 advantage in shot attempts, with their best chances coming in the latter minutes of the stanza. A bending shot by Fazl Shaikh from 18 yards out was saved by Germano on a diving stop to his left in the 81st minute. Nearly six minutes later, a cross from the left into the box was tipped off the far post by Daniel O'Grady, as the match headed into extra time.

The first overtime session saw the Panthers have two quality scoring opportunities. In the 106th minute, a header by Michael McFarlane hit the crossbar and went straight down before being cleared away. Nearly a minute later, a volley toward the right post by Shams Mohajerani was stopped on a diving save by Germano. The second overtime saw neither team have any scoring chances in the scoreless draw.

Matthew Hyer wasn't forced to make a save in his first career start in goal for the Panthers, while Germano had five saves for Norwich. The hosts also took all seven corner kicks in the contest.