Three Victories Improve Field Hockey to 8-0

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Three Victories Improve Field Hockey to 8-0

Charlotte Gardiner ’13 dribbles through a group of Wesleyan defenders in the Panthers 2-1 victory. (Courtesy/Jeff Patterson)

Charlotte Gardiner ’13 dribbles through a group of Wesleyan defenders in the Panthers 2-1 victory. (Courtesy/Jeff Patterson)

Charlotte Gardiner ’13 dribbles through a group of Wesleyan defenders in the Panthers 2-1 victory. (Courtesy/Jeff Patterson)

Charlotte Gardiner ’13 dribbles through a group of Wesleyan defenders in the Panthers 2-1 victory. (Courtesy/Jeff Patterson)

By Fritz Parker

The Middlebury field hockey team travelled to Wesleyan this Saturday, Sept. 29, defeating the host Cardinals by a 4-1 tally to earn their seventh straight win to start the season. The second-ranked Panthers then returned home on Oct. 2 with a 10-0 blowout over Castleton State.

Middlebury came into the game with Wesleyan after a week in which it defeated three top-10 opponents, causing them to jump one spot in the rankings.

Alyssa Dimaio ’15 kicked off the scoring for the Panthers six minutes in, converting a feed from Charlotte Gardiner ’13 to give the Panthers the early edge. Lauren Greer ’13 added an insurance goal later in the half to give Middlebury the 2-0 lead going into the break.

“For our team, we’re on offense whenever we have the ball.” said Greer. “We have focused this season on out-working our opponent, and it starts with ball control.”

In the second half, Cat Fowler ’15 found the cage for her fourth goal of the season, with assists from Dimaio and Margaret Souther ’13 to stretch the Middlebury lead to three. Greer scored her second of the afternoon just a minute later, giving her 12 goals and 31 points on the year.

“As an offensive player I have confidence in my midfield whenever they take the ball into the offensive zone,” said Greer.

Souther and the Panther defense held the Cardinals to just four shots in the half, all of them handled by goalkeeper Madeline Brooks ’13.

Wesleyan’s Ashley McLaren, who had eight of the Cardinals’ 12 shots in the game, was finally able to put one past Brooks in the 54th minute to get her team on the board and reach the final 4-1 score.

The Panthers outshot the Cardinals 24-12 for the game while also holding a 14-8 advantage in penalty corners.

“Our defense did an incredible job keeping the ball out of our defensive circle and using the width of the field to tire out our opponents,” said Greer. “Our success stems from their consistent block tackles and their ability to prevent our opponents from entering the zone.”

With the win, Middlebury stretched its perfect record to 8-0 overall and 5-0 in NESCAC play, the team’s best start since 2004 when it finished 18-2 en route to a national runner-up finish. The win strengthens the Panthers’ hold on the top spot in the conference standings, which they assumed after defeating Bowdoin and Amherst a week ago.

The team returned to action Tuesday, Oct. 2, against in-state opponent Castleton State. The Panthers scored early and often, holding the Spartans shotless, while jumping out to an 8-0 first-half lead. All 23 Middlebury players saw the field as they rolled to victory by a final score of 10-0. Dimaio recorded two goals and two assists in the game, with Greer adding a pair of goals and an assist as well.

The Panthers resume NESCAC play on Saturday, Oct. 6, when they host Hamilton (0-8).

“The team is very focused right now, but taking each game one at a time,”  Souther said. “We have an incredible sense of urgency on the field, which I’m confident we will keep throughout the whole season.”

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