#3 Panthers Beat #24 Hamilton As Win Streak Reaches 12

Alex White collected four ground balls in Sunday's win at Hamilton.
Alex White collected four ground balls in Sunday's win at Hamilton.

Middlebury extended its winning streak to a dozen with a 13-9 road NESCAC victory at #24 Hamilton (5-7, 2-7) on Sunday, marking the eighth time this season the team has topped a ranked opponent. The third-ranked Panthers (12-1, 7-1) return home Saturday to face another ranked foe on Saturday, hosting sixth-ranked and undefeated Tufts at 2:00 p.m.

Jane Earley helped the Panthers get off to fast start, factoring on each of Middlebury's first three goals. She opened the scoring at the 2:37 mark firing a shot into the upper-left corner after side-stepping a defender. After a Hamilton goal, Earley set up Jenna McNicholas for a tally while cutting to the crease, before using a low shot with 20:58 on the clock for a 3-1 lead for the visitors.

Middlebury's Emma McDonagh and Hamilton's Skyler Simson exchanged goals, before the Panthers increased their lead to 6-2. McNicholas scored the first of those goals with a low shot that leaked through Continental goalie Hannah Burrall, while Earley went top shelf after beating a defender with 8:31 left before the break. Hamilton countered, tallying three of the final four goals of the opening 30 minutes to cut the difference to 7-5.

The Panthers struck for a pair of early goals in the second stanza, as McDonagh recorded both scores. After a tally by Hamilton's Kara Pooley made it a 9-6 contest, McDonagh and Lily Riseberg notched back-to-back tallies for an 11-6 edge. The hosts again closed the margin to three goals (11-8), but the combination of Earley to McNicholas accounted for back-to-back scores to put the visitors back on top by five scores with an even six minutes remaining.

Charlotte Wynn responded for the hosts 35 seconds later, but that was the last tally of the contest.

Earley led the Panthers with a career-high seven points, scoring three goals and dishing out four assists, another career best. McDonagh, who extended her scoring streak to 40-straight games, scored four times with an assist, while McNicholas recorded four goals. Addy Mitchell collected four ground balls and two caused turnovers, Alex White also had four ground balls, while Erin Nicholas boasted eight draw controls. Julia Keith (10-1) and Kate Furber each played a half and had two saves apiece.

Pooley, Olivia Seymour and Tessa Ryan all scored twice for the hosts, while Pooley added a game-high six caused turnovers. Gabby O'Brien added six ground balls. Burrall (5-7) finished with 10 saves, seven ground balls and five caused turnovers.

Middlebury, who won 18-24 draw controls and held a 32-18 edge in shots, has now held an opponent to nine goals or less in eight-straight games.