#1 Middlebury Suffers First Setback of The Season

#1 Middlebury Suffers First Setback of The Season

The Middlebury women's soccer team saw its 12-game unbeaten streak to start the season come to an end, falling 2-0 at Amherst (9-3-1, 4-2-1) on Sunday. The top-ranked Panthers (10-1-2, 5-1-2) continue NESCAC play next Saturday, with a 12:00 p.m. start at No. 12 Tufts.

Chances were limited in the opening half, but each team did threaten. The Mammoths had a bid off a corner kick by Sophia Fikke with just under 16 minutes showing on the clock, as her offering from the right side was headed over the net by Alexa Juarez. With 7:30 left before the break, the hosts had another good look when Sloan Askins's shot from 25 yards out hit the cross bar.

Middlebury pressed late in the opening frame, as Gretchen McGrath made a run up the right side and slid a centering pass to Eliza Robinson. Robinson's shot was deflected high over the net by an Amherst defender, but the ensuing corner kick was cleared by the Mammoths as the teams went into the half in a scoreless tie.

The hosts broke through for a score with 16:01 expired in the second stanza. Isabel Stern gained possession on the right side and fired a low shot on goal that Juarez redirected into the net for her seventh tally of the fall. That goal snapped Middlebury's string of not allowing a score at 542:13. Stern nearly doubled the lead seven minutes later with a rush up the left side, forcing Panther keeper Ursula Alwang to make a diving save and a second stop on her rebound attempt.

The Panthers had a good chance to pull even with just under 15 minutes left, as Eliza Van Voorhis broke free inside the penalty area and rolled a low shot from the right side. Mammoth goalie Erica Sanders dove to her right and snared the ball. The hosts added an insurance goal with 8:28 remaining, when Ruby Hastie sent a penalty kick into the right side of the net for a 2-0 cushion.

Alwang finished with four saves for Middlebury, while Sanders posted three for the hosts. The Mammoths held a 14-9 edge in shots, including 6-2 in the second half, and each team took four corner kicks.