Top-ranked Middlebury scored seven of the game's first eight goals en route to a 15-6 NESCAC victory Sunday over Tufts on a chilly Kohn Field. The Panthers (3-0, 2-0) return to action on Saturday with a 12:00 p.m. game at Wesleyan, while the Jumbos (1-1, 0-1) host Claremont-Mudd-Scripps on Wednesday at 6:00 p.m.
Middlebury got on the board first when Emma McDonagh scored on a free-position attempt with a bouncing shot at the 26:37 mark. The score remained that way until Bea Eppler doubled the Panther advantage on a shot into the bottom-left corner at 23:30. Tufts cut the deficit in half when Emily Games scored a free-position goal with a hard, low shot with 22:01 left before halftime.
The Panthers responded to the Jumbo goal with the game's next five scores, giving Middlebury a 7-1 advantage with 15:10 remaining in the opening half. Jenna McNicholas had a pair during the spurt, while McDonagh, Hollis Perticone and Mary O'Connell each scored for the hosts.
Free-position goals from Tufts' Kate Mackin at 12:07 and Dakota Adamec with 10:00 left brought the visitors back to within four (7-3). The Panthers answered with four of the half's final five goals for an 11-4 lead. Henley Hall, Georgia Carroll and Kate Zecca each scored for the Panthers, as Zecca's tally was her first career goal. O'Connell made the score 11-4 with 1:22 left when she worked her from behind the crease, firing a hard shot into the bottom of the net. Sandwiched among the Panther goals was Mackin's second tally for the Jumbos on a hard, high shot into the top-right corner, as the hosts possessed an 11-4 halftime lead.
In the second half, McNicholas scored at 28:16 on a low shot for her third goal of the game, while Mackin also tallied her third goal and second free-position tally of the contest at 24:59. Eppler found the back of the net at 22:55 for the Panthers, while Maddie Norman scored on a pretty, underhanded shot via a feed from behind the goal by Margaret Chase at 20:41. Goals by Casey O'Neill and Perticone completed the scoring, as the Panthers held possession for much of the final minutes on their way to the 15-6 victory.
O'Connell led all players with two goals and four assists for Middlebury, while McNicholas (3-0-3), McDonagh (2-1-3), Perticone (2-1-3) and Carroll (1-2-3) all produced three-point efforts. Evie Keating scooped up a game-best six ground balls, while McDonagh added five. Perticone paced the Panthers with three draw controls.
Mackin scored three times to lead the Jumbos, while Johanna O'Neil picked up a team-high five ground balls and Casey Briody chipped in with four. Adamec and Lily Baldwin each had three draw controls for the visitors.
Kate Furber (2-0) tallied a career-best seven saves for the Panthers in the win, while Audrey Evers (1-1) took the loss with 12 saves for the Jumbos. Middlebury held a 36-16 advantage in shots and a 22-17 edge in ground balls.