Fourth-ranked Middlebury erased a five-goal deficit in the second half, but visiting Colby tallied twice in the final 2:16 to pull out a 14-12 NESCAC victory on Saturday. The Panthers (9-2, 5-1) continue conference play next Saturday, hosting #8 Trinity at 2:00 p.m., while the #21 Mules (6-4, 2-4) host Bowdoin on Wednesday at 7:00 p.m.
Colby started fast, scoring the first four goals of the contest. Emma Banks picked up the initial goal 4:39 into the contest, followed by a tally from Kendall Smith less than a minute later. The Mules extended the advantage to 4-0, before Middlebury got on the scoreboard. The Panthers made 4-1 when MG Gately hit a cutting Erin Nicholas for a score with 11:18 on the clock. Henley Hall and Kate Zecca added free-position goals, bringing the hosts to within a goal (4-3) with 6:17 left in the half.
The teams traded scores the rest of the half with Colby clinging to a 6-5 lead after Hollis Peritcone brought Middlebury to within a goal with 1:35 remaining, tucking a shot into the top-right corner seven seconds after winning a draw control.
Panthers got off to a fast start in the new half, with Perticone setting up Emily Barnard 50 seconds into the new stanza. Colby responded with five-straight goals for an 11-6 lead, as Kendall Smith capped the run with 19:49 on the clock.
Emma McDonagh and Nicholas recorded back-to-back goals for the Panthers, trimming the deficit to 11-8. After Maddie Hatch scored for the Mules, Perticone drove to the net for her second tally of the game with 9:53 remaining and 35 seconds, and later cashed in on a feed from behind the net from Georgia Carroll, making it a 12-10 contest. The rally continued with 5:46 left, as Nicholas converted a free-position attempt and two minutes later, Kirsten Murphy scored from the eight-meter arc, knotting the game at 12-12.
Colby's Grace Cowell scored the deciding goal on a free-position shot with 2:16 showing on the clock, while Grace Langmuir added an insurance maker with 1:20 left, spoiling Middlebury's comeback bid.
Perticone had a huge game for the Panthers with three goals and assist, a career-high 12 draw controls, two ground balls and two caused turnovers. Nicholas added a hat trick and Barnard tallied twice. Julia Keith started in goal and made six saves in 39:02, while Kate Furber had two stops in 20:58.
Smith paced the Mules with five tallies, while Sasha Fritts scored twice and assisted on another. Cowell led the team with four ground balls and DeWan McGara collected five draw controls. In goal for Colby, Izzy Scribano registered 11 saves.