For the second-straight game, the Middlebury men's soccer team took advantage of a penalty kick for the contest's only goal, edging Bates 1-0 Saturday for an important home NESCAC victory. The Panthers (9-2-3, 5-2-2) cap the regular season Tuesday on the road against Williams at 3:00 p.m., while the Bobcats (8-6-0, 3-6-0) host Colby Wednesday in an 8:00 p.m. start.
Both teams had had chances minutes apart midway through the opening half with Bates getting the first one. Charlie Cronin touched a shot wide of the right post for the Bobcats, before Middlebury's Ben Potter volleyed a shot minutes later from in tight that keeper Robbie Montanaro collected.
The hosts had another quality opportunity with 7:31 showing on the clock, as Raffi Barsamian fired a low shot that Montanaro made a diving save to his right to keep the game scoreless at the break.
In the second stanza, Bates had possession to start the new frame and Peder Bakken fired a rising shot with only 12 seconds expired, forcing Panther goalie Matthew Hyer to punch it over the crossbar.
In the latter stages of the frame, a Panther was taken down inside the Bobcat restraining area, setting up Potter for a penalty kick. Potter directed a shot into the left side of the net for his team-leading fifth tally of the fall. He also scored on a penalty kick in Wednesday's victory at Castleton.
Hyer made one save for the hosts, recording his sixth shutout of the season, while Montanaro registered three stops for Bates.
The Panthers held a 15-8 advantage in shots, as well as a 6-2 edge in corner kicks.
Middlebury is 7-0-2 in its last nine games and has outscored the opposition by a 22-5 margin.
With the win, the Panthers reclaim the Hedley Reynolds Cup. Awarded annually, the cup is named after Thomas Hedley Reynolds, who served in administrative roles at both institutions. He began his tenure as the Dean of Men at Middlebury in 1957, and became the Dean of the College seven years later. He then served as the president of Bates from 1967 through 1989.