The Middlebury women's soccer team scored three times during a span of 25:19 in Saturday's first half, easing to a 4-0 home NESCAC triumph over Colby (4-5-2, 1-5-2) Saturday on Dragone Field. Second-ranked Middlebury (10-0-1, 5-0-1) returns to action next Saturday with an 11:00 a.m. home match against Trinity, while Colby hosts Amherst at the same time.
The hosts grabbed a 1-0 lead 2:32 into the contest, when Eliza Van Voorhis netted her first goal of the season. Ellie Bavier sent a long pass from the right side of the restraining area, where Van Voorhis ran onto the ball and ripped a right-footed volley into the upper-right corner of the net.
Middlebury doubled its lead with 19:20 elapsed when Simone Ameer dribbled toward the right side, firing a shot just inside the left post past the outstretched hand of Mule goalie Dani Lonati. Middlebury made it 3-0 just 8:31 later when Olivia Miller finished in the box following a scrum on a corner kick.
Colby had its best chance of the opening half with two minutes remaining. Kerrie Verbeek collected a loose ball in the Panther defensive end, ripping a shot from 18 yards that Panther goalie Eva Shaw made a diving save to her right to keep the Middlebury three-goal lead at the half.
In the second frame, the Panthers increased their lead to 4-0 with 11:31 expired, as Ameer knocked in a shot from the right side for her second tally of the day and team-leading eighth of the season. Rose Evans was credited with an assist on a nice through ball from the left side. The Mules had their greatest opportunity in the final half come in the 65th minute. A dipping shot by Ellie Hankin from inside the penalty box was stopped by Shaw on the left post, as the Panthers cruised to the 4-0 victory.
Shaw finished with six saves for her second shutout of the season, while Lonati (four) and Shannon Gray (seven) combined for 11 stops in the Mule net.
Middlebury held a wide 28-7 margin in shots and took seven of the contest's eight corner kicks. Saturday's victory was the eighth shutout of the season for the Panthers, lowering the team's goals against average to 0.27 to rank in the top-10 spots nationally. Middlebury hasn't allowed an opposing team to score in the last 371:12 of action.