As a steady trickle of rain fell onto the soggy pitch, the Middlebury women’s soccer players, their socks caked in mud and shirts drenched, battled to a 1-0 win against Hamilton on Saturday, Oct. 6. Just a day later, however, on Sunday, Oct. 7, the Panthers’ undefeated season came to an end with a 1-0 loss on the road to Connecticut College.
On Saturday, Middlebury started off the stronger of the two sides and dominated possession. With build-up controlled by the center midfielders, especially Maddy Boston ’13, the Panthers offense gave Hamilton little respite with one surge after another.
The Continentals weathered the storm and eventually established themselves the game, resulting with a good chance for Alex Rimmer who placed her shot wide after a through ball in the 38th minute. Middlebury striker Scarlett Kirk ’14 had a similar opportunity in the 41st minute, knocking the ball wide during a one on one confrontation with the goalkeeper after muscling through a Hamilton defender.
Playing conditions were less than ideal, as many players struggled to keep their footing, resulting in several misplaced passes. However, Middlebury showed both their technical skill, by controlling a slippery and rapidly travelling ball, as well as their physical presence with strong slide tackling.
The Panthers made a breakthrough halfway through the second period off the foot of Amy Schlueter ’13. The co-captain found the back of the net from outside the 18-yard box with a powerful strike. The only goal of the game also brought Hamilton’s undefeated season to an end.
“We felt very confident after [the game against Hamilton], not just because we won but because we outplayed the team as well,” said Head Coach Peter Kim. “It was our biggest test so far and we proved that we could play.”
While the game against Hamilton proved to be a boost, Connecticut College brought the team back down to earth. Middlebury’s undefeated run came to an end on Sunday in a gruelling match against the Camels, during which the women conceded their second goal of the season in the defeat.
Astrid Kempainen of Conn. College made the difference with a 25-yard strike in the 35th minute, assisted by Alina Torres. The scoreline didn’t reflect the number of chances Middlebury had in the game, however, as the Panthers outshot Conn. College 20 to nine. Camel’s goalkeeper Natalie Signor was also forced to make three more saves than Middlebury goalkeepers Elizabeth Foody ’14 and Jocelyn Remmert ’13, who both saw action in the contest.
“The Connecticut game was a textbook example of what happens when you overlook a weaker opponent,” said co-captain Lucy Wagner ’13. “ While we all came into the match knowing that we needed to work hard to get the win, we allowed ourselves technical lapses that in the end we were punished for. We are committed to fixing the mistakes we made and I have no doubt we will come back better than ever to take on Trinity next weekend.”
The team faces the Bantams in Hartford this Saturday, Oct. 13, before returning home against Skidmore on Oct. 16.