Middlebury scored four of the game's last five goals on its way to a 16-12 win over #13 Bowdoin (0-1, 0-1) in the NESCAC opener for both teams. The top-ranked Panthers (1-0, 1-0) return to action next Saturday with a noon start at Conn. College, while Bowdoin hosts Plymouth State on Wednesday at 5:30 p.m.
Trailing 1-0, Middlebury rattled off the next five goals to lead 5-1 at the 17:56 mark. Jane Earley scored twice, while Erin Nicholas cut through traffic to score a goal with a player advantage to close the surge.
Bowdoin answered the run with four-straight tallies of its own, including two from Katie Miller, tying the game at 5-5 with 3:09 left in the first half. The teams exchanged the next two goals, leaving the game knotted at 6-6 at the intermission.
The Panthers started the second half by scoring five of the first six goals, moving ahead 11-7 when Earley scored through traffic with 20:28 on the clock. Emily Barnard tallied three of the five goals during the spurt, including twice on free position shots.
The Polar Bears would not go away, as Fiona Bundy sandwiched a pair of goals around a tally from Kate McAloon, as Bowdoin made it a one-goal game (11-10) once again with 17:43 left to play.
Leading 12-11 with 10:38 remaining, Sarah Weppler put her team on top 13-11, before Nicholas scored on a bounce shot to make it a three-goal game (14-11) at the 6:51 mark. Grace Getman gave the Panthers some more breathing room with 4:55 on the clock, while Weppler converted a pass from behind the goal by Barnard to put the game out of reach (16-11) with 1:49 remaining. Bundy scored the game's final goal as the Panthers emerged with the 16-12 victory.
Barnard and Earley led the hosts with five goals apiece, Weppler and Nicholas each scored twice, while Barnard added two assists. Addy Mitchell finished with five caused turnover and five ground balls, while Nicholas won four draws and caused four turnovers. Earley won five draw controls, while Barnard picked up three ground balls. Julia Keith made seven saves in goal to earn the win.
Bundy led all scorers with six goals, while Miller added two scores and two assists. Morgan Pinado registered a team high four ground balls and three caused turnovers, while Kara Finnerty won six draws. Aaliyah Biondo made nine saves in goal for the visitors.
Middlebury extended its winning streak to 23 games, while giving up double-digits in goals for the first time 18 contests, dating back to a 21-18 shootout victory at Bowdoin a year ago.