Middlebury scored one goal in each half during its season-opening match Tuesday at in-state foe Norwich, posting a 2-0 victory over the Cadets (2-1-0). The Panthers (1-0-0) begin NESCAC play on Saturday when they travel to Wesleyan at 2:00 p.m.
In a first half that saw few scoring opportunities for both sides, Middlebury got on the scoreboard first at the 12:24 mark. Ben Potter and NU goalie Robert Wagenseller came together on a crossing ball in the air, before the ball deflected behind Wagenseller and Potter lifted a volley toward the left post and into the net.
Middlebury doubled its lead in 70th minute of the contest when it gained an advantage on the offensive end. Noah Hannam settled a crossing attempt on the right side of the box, centering to Drew Goulart, who buried a right-footed shot into the bottom left corner of the net from 12 yards out.
Norwich's best chance of the final stanza came in the 79th minute on a penalty kick, but Alex Brannan's shot hit the crossbar and went straight up in the air before being cleared away.
Ryan Grady wasn't forced to make a save in his first career start in goal for the Panthers, earning the shutout. Wagenseller had six saves for Norwich. The visitors held an 11-4 advantage in shots and 4-2 edge in corner kicks.