Second-ranked Middlebury held a 10-7 lead with 6:02 remaining in the contest, but visiting Bates tallied three times before the end of regulation and 1:53 into overtime for an 11-10 NESCAC victory on Saturday. The Panthers (0-1, 0-1) return to action next Saturday when they host Connecticut College at 12:00 p.m., while the Bobcats (3-0, 1-0) travel to Babson on Wednesday at 5:00 p.m.
Emily Barnard scored the season-opening goal 1:32 into the contest for the Panthers, while Kirsten Murphy tallied 2:12 later and Barnard added her second on an odd-angled shot with 25:40 left. Bates cut the lead to 3-2 on free-position goals from Lila Hutchins and Katie Allard. Kate Zecca gave the hosts a 4-2 advantage with 19:10 left, before the Bobcats rattled off three-straight goals for a 5-4 lead on a tally by Kathryn Grennon with 11:16 remaining. The Panthers scored the final two goals of the half, as Barnard netted her third and Jane Earley recorded her initial goal as a Panther on an assist from Sara DiCenso.
The hosts carried that momentum in the second half with free-position goals from Erin Nicholas and Casey O'Neill, sandwiched around a Barnard tally while Middlebury was up a player. Bates cut the deficit to 9-7 with scores by Allard and Summer Dias, before Barnard tallied for the fifth time on a quick-stick shot from close range for a three-goal advantage with 6:02 left. Bates reeled off the final three goals of regulation, including a tally from Avery MacMullen with 10.4 seconds left into the upper-right corner of the goal to knot the score at 10-10.
In the overtime, the Panthers claimed the opening draw control, but turned the ball over to the Bobcats. Bates posted a successful clear before Dias muscled her way in from the right side, scoring just inside the right post for the game-winning tally with 1:53 elapsed for the final 11-10 score.
Barnard finished with a career-best five goals to pace the Panthers, while DiCenso and Emma McDonagh each had three assists. Nicholas won eight draws on the afternoon, while Addy Mitchell paced the team with three caused turnovers and six ground balls. O'Neill tallied four draws for the Panthers. Kate Furber played the opening half in goal with seven saves, while Julia Keith made four saves during the second stanza and overtime.
Allard led Bates with four goals and two assists, while Dias had three scores. Liv Sanford and Caitie Clark each picked up five ground balls and had two draw controls. Eliza Statile finished with 20 saves in goal and scooped up a game-best nine ground balls.
Middlebury held a 37-27 advantage in shots and a 19-4 edge in draw controls.